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Customers Share the Most Unforgettable Bad Dining Experiences of their Lives

MJ Staff March 14, 2023

Our most impactful experiences, whether positive or negative, tend to be the ones that stick with us. Take for example, dining out, we can remember the most scrumptious meals we’ve had, but also the most unpleasant experiences like poor service, unhygienic settings, or even falling ill from the food. These experiences leave a long-lasting impression, whether we like it or not, exemplifying how both good and bad experiences can shape our memories.

People’s worst dining experiences were the subject of a Reddit thread, and we combed through a ton of the responses to choose some of the most noteworthy to feature. You might become a passionate cook at home after reading these tales:

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1. The Silverware

I don’t know if this was the worst, but it sprang to mind.

We were in a restaurant we’ve gone to sporadically over the years. It’s usually reasonably good.

We’re seated and our drink order is taken. I mention to the waitress that there’s no silverware on the table, and she says “Oh, no problem, I’ll be right back”. She shows back up 10 minutes later to take our dinner order. We order, and I again mention the lack of silverware. “Oh, right, hang on”.

We don’t see her again for 30 minutes. Drinks are empty, no silverware, nothing. Can’t even find her in the restaurant.

After 30 minutes, she shows up again with our meals, both pasta dishes. She sets them down, and I again mention that we have no silverware, and can’t eat our dinner. “Oh, I’m so sorry, hang on”.

She disappears again. There’s something horrible about being very hungry and staring at your meal while being unable to eat it. Your stomach’s rumbling, you’re salivating, and you’re so d*mn ready to dig in… but you can’t.

After staring at our dinner for at least five minutes, I get up, go to the setup table and grab two full sets of silverware and napkins, and return to the table. We eat, and the waitress is MIA.

Twenty minutes after we’ve finished our meals, still no waitress. I get up and ask to see the manager. I tell her what happened and she accuses me of trying to steal the silverware. Blew my mind.

Suffice it to say, we’ve never gone back and have dissuaded lots of people from eating there.

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2. Two Things

I was at an IHOP with my then fiancée having our usual Saturday IHOP treat meal. This location was always one of the better ones in terms of food quality and service, so we always went there.

That particular day was different, however…very different. We had ordered our regular meals ( blueberry topped, stuffed crepes for me, and a bacon and ham scrambler for her), and shot the sh*t for a bit while waiting. Everything was great so far, and then the food came.

My crepes were cooked badly and cold, her scrambler is not the right one and also cold. We complained,(politely mind you, we liked this place after all) and wrote it off as a new cook. When the food comes out I notice right away that my blueberries are missing and the food is cold again.

We tell the waitress who gets the manager, who apologizes profusely and goes into the kitchen. We were seated in such a way that we saw the cook when the manager opened the door, and I noticed two things right away.

  1. The cook is indeed new

  2. The cook clearly has a learning disability

The manager comes back to us and explains that the cook used to be the dishwasher but was shadowing one of the regular cooks and trying his best. The regular cook had called in sick that day leaving the special cook to fend for himself. The manager comped us and said that he tried to help but was too busy to constantly be back there. Then this happened.

The manager had one of the wait staff steps in to cook while he BROUGHT THE DISABLED GUY TO OUR TABLE and had him tearfully apologize to us. That caused the manager to tear up as well as my SO. Then the manager FIRED THE GUY IN FRONT OF US! We of course left pronto.

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3. Pepper Flakes Were Moving

I was a small child, in a small town where the fanciest restaurant was a Ponderosa Steakhouse. One night, my parents decided that a fine meal was in order, so we made our way there.

If you’ve never been to a Ponderosa: imagine a middle-school cafeteria buffet dropped into a steakhouse that needed to be remodeled in the 70s. The tables were plastic, the chairs were folding metal contraptions, the indoor-outdoor carpet had a disquieting green shimmer to it, and the blinds stayed shut so that you couldn’t quite see what you were eating.

My father was a quiet, unassuming man. I can count on one hand the times I saw him get angry. Dinner at the Ponderosa was one of those times, and it was the only time I ever heard him swear in public.

When we arrived, it was clear that everyone working there wished they were working somewhere else. The hostess was surly, and the waiter acted like he was doing us a favor by taking drink orders. But, hey, it’s a buffet/steakhouse, we weren’t there to make friends. We were there to eat until we regretted it.

We didn’t even get to eat a bite before we regretted it. My dad and I went to the buffet, filled our plates (and one for mom), and returned to the table. I slid my fork into the mashed potatoes. I brought the fork to my mouth. I realized the pepper flakes were moving.

“What the F*CK?!

I dropped my fork. My dad’s idea of harsh language was “gosh-durn.” I’d never heard him lay down an f-bomb before, much less one fueled by that much rage, and it legit scared me. I was a small child. I began to cry. My father’s gaze was fixed on his green beans, which were also moving.

A waiter came over, with a manager in tow. They began very sternly reprimanding my father for using such language in a family restaurant and informed him that his behavior would have to improve if we wanted to stay.

My father, who stood just shy of 6’9″, silently got to his feet and glared down at the suddenly quiet Ponderosa employees.

“Sir,” the manager started, much more respectfully this time.

“There are ants in this food,” my father interrupted him. “About a thousand ants.”

“Sir,” the manager started again.

“We’re going to leave. We’re not going to pay. But first, you’re going to apologize to my family for trying to feed them this sh*t, and you’re going to apologize to me for speaking to me like that in front of my wife and son.”

By this point, everyone else in the restaurant (maybe four or five other families) had stopped eating and were either inspecting their food or watching this scene unfold. One guy got up and went to the buffet with a little pocket flashlight. He clicked it on, took a look at the food, clicked it back off, and began dry heaving.

The manager and waiter were frozen. Neither one was apologizing, and that was pissing my dad off worse.

“Come on,” my father said gesturing to my mother and me. The three of us walked out of the restaurant, with all of the other patrons following behind. The manager snapped out of his trance long enough to flip out and start shouting at everyone that they couldn’t leave without paying. Turns out they could.

The Ponderosa closed its doors forever later that week. It belongs to the ants now.

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4. She takes offense?

Second try at East Side Marios. So a year and a half later my girlfriend and I are hungry and want to go out for Italian-style food. She suggests ESMs again and I’m pretty adamant that I never want to step foot in there again, but she brings up the gift cards and my frugal self can’t say no. So we go to a different location figuring our experience has to be better. We get seated, waitress offers us drinks and brings them in kid’s cups. She apologizes and says there’s a problem with the dishwasher and that’s all they have. Ok, that’s fine so long as we get our food in a timely manner. My girlfriend orders lasagna and I get some penne pasta dish. It arrives in 10 minutes or so. I figure this is great. She gives us our cutlery…. My fork has bits of food on it and the knife has pasta on it as well. Gross. I flag her down show her the issue and her response ” Well I told you the dishwasher broke, what do you want me to do?” I tell her that I expect the kitchen staff to fill a sink and wash the dishes by hand so they can give customers clean silverware and cups! She takes offense to this and comes back with plastic cutlery. B*tch just lost whatever tip I was going to give her. After that, a child starts chucking crayons and pasta everywhere. Even though we ask her to do something about the child, we can tell she’s in no mood to help us out. Then the child vomits. Not just a burp and upchuck. I mean a river of macaroni and cheese. It’s disgusting, the place now smells. The kid’s family grab their child, leave $70 for their bill and run out the door. You’d think that the first thing someone working there would do is open a window and get some towels to clean up the mess. Nope. The waitress comes back and says “Ewww! I’m not cleaning that up!” and walks away. After calling over a manager, we find out that literally she just walked away and didn’t tell anyone that there was a kid puke on a table in her section. The manager apologizes for the wazoo and offers gift certificates. I tell her to keep them, I’m never visiting an ESM again.


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5. Dessert with a “Real Man”

I was eating with a female friend at a reasonably nice restaurant. Not posh, but expensive. Before we were seated we grabbed a drink at the bar, whilst there she signed up for some sort of newsletter at the bar. To be fair it was stuff like this that made me apprehensive to call the place “posh”.

Anyways, we sit down and the girl I’m with gets a text telling her how beautiful she looks. She ignores it and another one comes through asking her what she’s doing later. She hasn’t got a clue who it is and ignores it.

We’re finishing up our meal and a 3rd text comes through saying she shouldn’t be with a guy like me and asking if she wanted dessert with a “real man”

Now it’s clear someone in the restaurant has her number and we clocked that she had put it down on the application form for the newsletter. Considering the newsletters went into a box behind the bar it was a member of staff. After getting the manager down and him calling the number and pegging what member of staff it was it turned out one of the waiters had taken her number and address off this form, written it in his phone and had spent the evening taking pictures of her from behind the bar. The police ended up involved.


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6. Got a Free Meal

This wasn’t the restaurant’s fault, but it was the worst dining experience my husband and I have ever had.

We decided to go to a very nice steak house on a whim. Valet park the car and go in. Place our order, and apps come out and are great. We see the manager and the seating host going to every table, but they look very concerned; not the typical “How’s your meal?” The manager gets out of our table and he asks if we valet parked the car and we said yes. He then asks if it was a red Nissan. We said it was and I got a bad feeling when he said: “was”. He then asks us to follow him out front.

We get outside and there’s a cop car. I’m thinking someone hit my car or something. NOPE! Two kids hopped in my car and took off! Right from the valet. I was in total shock as this had never happened to me before and it was a crappy 2004 Nissan!

The manager and head valet were falling over themselves apologizing. We got a free meal and they offered to pay for a cab.

My husband goes inside to fill out some paperwork and I’m sitting outside in shock. The cop pulls back up and said “We got ’em!” We got to ride in the back of a cop car to pick up mine in the middle of the hood. Felt like the movie ‘Date Night’ for a while. At least we got a free meal and a good story out of it.

Still haven’t been back to the restaurant though.

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7. The Scariest Spaghetti

We got scammed at a fake restaurant in Bologna. I can’t believe we fell for it. The place got me by looking all bohemian and rustic, so of course you think it’s a local place right? Plus it was off the beaten track. Usually, these traps are right in a major tourist area.

Since it’s right outside our bed and breakfast, I make a reservation. I should have known something was up when he wanted a deposit. If this happens to you in Italy, run, don’t walk, towards the door. He’s afraid that you will hear the truth about the restaurant when you tell someone you are going there and that you won’t come for dinner.

The second warning sign – is no prices anywhere. You are going to get hit with the idiot tax. And we did. Frozen entrees and old shellfish. I had the scariest spaghetti vongole ever – I swear the garlic was piled on to hide the stench of rotting seafood. My husband had an obviously frozen vegetable lasagna. The veggies for everything, including the antipasta, must have been weeks old. The portions were huge and very, very bad. The waiters are sweet as pie because they know it’s harder for you to complain when you are given a free drink here and a little extra dessert there. They know that you are on vacation and don’t want to cause a scene in a country where you don’t know the rules, and plus, you don’t want to ruin such a nice evening. Oh yeah, they “don’t speak English.”

Then you get the bill. It’s going to be double or triple in any other place. Maybe quadruple. And there is nothing you can do. They may be getting their food from an illegal source, and you know that they are cheating on their taxes and relying on bribes to keep operating. So the police might even be on their side. You just pay that idiot tax and write a scathing review on Trip Advisor hoping that helps someone else.


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8. 31.39% tip

When I was in high school I lived in a tiny rural hamlet. We would go on field trips to the city to watch plays and the ballet and always would stop at a new restaurant before the productions began.
We settled on Earls there were 30 kids and one teacher, and we were all well-behaved and respectable country kids. We sat at 5 tables, one table of ten (my table), and 4 tables of five. We had all decided beforehand to tip our waiter 10 dollars each.

We asked the waiter before we ordered our food if we could have separate bills between us, and he told us that due to the size of our party, he was not willing to do that. We told him that we understood and would sort it out amongst ourselves.

We ordered our food and after it arrived our waiter was nowhere to be seen, with no refills, and no checking up on us, but we knew it was busy and didn’t care much being teenagers and excited to be in the city without our parents.

Without a word, he walked up to our table and dropped a bill in the middle. He did not ask us if we would like anything else or how we enjoyed our meal.

Because of the meals all being on the same ticket, we started calculating who owed what after we figured out the bulk of it we put the bills to the side and started to deal with the change. There was about $30 worth of change we were counting (This is in Canada so our $1 and $2 are coins) and the waiter walks by, sees the change and taps me on the shoulder. I look up at him and in the most disgusted voice he says, “You kids realize that I put up with you all evening and that (pointing to the money on the table) is NOT 10%”

I was so shocked and angry, he could not be bothered with us all evening, couldn’t put our food on separate tabs, and so when we are dividing everything up and hadn’t even started getting our tip money out he was going to approach us like that? Not to mention we were all well-behaved and polite I have no idea what he had to “put up with”. My friend went to speak with our teacher about what just happened and he was livid. He said that the waiter had been rude and absent at their table as well and we had come to find (not surprisingly) that this had repeated itself amongst all the tables. Other tables apparently had it much worse, getting the wrong food and then when they approached the waiter he said no that is what you ordered just be quiet and eat it. My teacher told us not to leave a tip and that he would speak with a manager.

Once on our way to the production, our teacher told us he had left a note on the table that said something along the lines of, We do this every month and the kids love to make people happy. Tonight they were planning on leaving $10 dollars each on a bill of $955.65 (that was the total for all 5 tables). that is 31.39% tip. I hope you reflect on your behaviour this evening.

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9. Beyond Flabbergasted

Ordered garlic naan at an Indian restaurant in the UK once, the waiter took the full order, then disappeared into the back, came out 30 seconds later with his jacket on, and left to go the Tesco opposite, came back in with a nasty processed packet of pitta bread, and served us that after he obviously microwaved it….me and my friends were beyond flabbergasted, we mentioned it at the end of the meal, he flat out denied it!!

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10. Where is The Hot Sauce?

Went to a Chinese restaurant and had a decent meal with a group of friends. The serving staff wasn’t very friendly or nice but on well we were hungry. After we paid and left the restaurant walking towards the car, the owner of the restaurant comes out running at us yelling, ” where is the hot sauce?”. At first, we didn’t understand what she was saying or why she was yelling, finally, we understood she meant we stole the hot sauce bottle. We said we didn’t take anything but she kept demanding and yelling for it. Five minutes into this her staff calls her and she just walks off. (Imagine yelling and then no noise.) We walk back to the restaurant and ask her what happened; she made little eye contact and ignored us and then her staff tells us they misplaced the hot sauce and found it again. We asked the owner again and she just said, hot sauce was found as if none of the yellings in front of the parking lot happened. No apology.

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11. All Got Up and Left

I went to some little independent restaurant a few years ago with a good friend of mine and his family. He has a 14-year-old son with Down’s Syndrome. He was quiet and polite the whole time, but before our meals came one of the waitstaff came over and said that he had received a lot of complaints from other guests about us having a “retard” with us and that we were welcome to stay as long as the kid waited outside or in the car or something. He said it right in front of the kid no less, and this was after the kid made his own meal order speaking in English to that same waiter.

We all got up and left right at that moment, that restaurant had only been open for a few months at that point, but it closed down shortly thereafter, I like to think that the complaints every one of us filed with the BBB had something to do with that.


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12. Uh, Wings?

Denny’s. We were picking someone up at the airport late and they were hungry. Carrow’s was closed. I waited too long to eat so anything would work.

We ordered a starter of chicken strips, definitely chicken strips. The server brought out a plate of hot wings. He asked, “Those look good, what are those?” ” Uh, Wings” We are confused at this point.

Our order comes up. Everyone gets food but me. The server comes back to see how things are. I ask where my food is and then he goes back to the kitchen to see. Comes back out.

“The chef is being a d*ck.”

“Sooo.. is my food coming?”



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13. The Coupon

For my gf and I’s anniversary, we used a restaurant coupon (good for $100) that I had won at a charity auction from a Christian cultural heritage group thing that a friend was helping run. We ordered about $150 of food (drinks, appetizers, entree and dessert) and were getting great service. I had called ahead saying I had a coupon and they said it was all good.

When it was time to pay, I presented the coupon with my card to the waitress. She took it and disappeared.

Five minutes later she and the owner came out to our table and said the coupon was fake and they had never issued it before. I was accused of fraud, and she was about to phone the police. We spent over an hour and a half trying to reach the organizers of the auction, called up my friend who was off on vacation on the east coast (so it was like 1 AM for her when we called) and tried to get it settled.

Eventually, I just paid for the meal in full with my card, and we left. I sent out e-mails to the hosts of the sponsors and never got a response. Tried a few more times and was still ignored. My friend offered to personally reimburse me (I had only gone on their invitation, and I had donated a LOT during the event) for the dinner but I declined as it wasn’t necessarily their fault.

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14. She Lost It

There’s a sushi restaurant at a certain major train station in Japan which I’ve been to at least 50 times. Two of those times I’ve seen a cockroach running across the counter. That’s not good, but not as shocking as it might sound, as the front door opens right onto the street, and anyone who’s lived in Japan knows, even the most meticulously clean environment can get a cockroach wandering in from time to time.

On the occasion in question, I spotted the little guy running towards me, about a metre away. Nobody else seemed to see him. I grabbed an empty tea cup and dropped it over him like a cage. I’m not the type of person to make a scene; I finished my sushi and asked for the bill. The waitress brought it to me while carrying a tray of miso soups. I whispered to her, “watch out, there’s a small cockroach under that teacup” and indicated the one I was talking about. She apologized profusely and I started to leave. What she did next is a bit hard to understand. She didn’t serve the miso soups that were on their way somewhere. She didn’t clear my plates. She didn’t call anyone for help. She went straight to the cup. She clearly understood my Japanese because she stood way back from it and tapped it a couple of times while wincing. Then she picked up the cup. The bug happily scampered out.

She lost it. Miso soup everywhere (mostly on the wall, but some on her, probably some droplets on some customers), pointing at the bug and screaming/crying. Everyone in the restaurant stood up to look at whatever she was pointing at. Then she looked back at me. Everyone in the restaurant looked at me.

Really? Do you think I brought the cockroach in my pocket or something?

What did she think was going to happen when she lifted up the cup? Why did she lift the cup if she’s scared of cockroaches? Should I have been more explicit in explaining that the cockroach was still alive?

I got out and didn’t go back for about 2 years.


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15. She Did it Again

I had a sick waitress sneeze on my burger at Applebee’s. After ordering a new one, she did it again and responded “You’re gonna have to eat this one, ’cause I’m not getting you another.” When I left I saw her do this to another group at a booth.


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16. She Completely Forgot

Last week I went to a cheap little sushi place and ordered two rolls to go (I do this weekly). The waitress was pleasant but after about 30 minutes of waiting (it usually only takes 15), I asked her if my sushi was almost ready. She became huffy and told me I’ll get it when I get it. Then I started noticing people who came in after me were receiving their sushi so I asked her again. After about 50 minutes I told her my meter was running out and I’d like a refund and she told me she had no clue how to do that but gave me 4 quarters to pay the meter. I told her I wanted to speak to a manager and she told me that he wouldn’t be in for over a week. After sitting and waiting for an hour and a half she told me she completely forgot to put my order in.

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17. 3-page Letter

I was at a Texas Road House, we sat down, and didn’t even see a server for about 15 minutes, when we finally saw one, she walked over, looked at us, and said “I’ll get your drinks in a minute”, as if she had already asked us, then came back with 2 margaritas. When we told her we hadn’t even ordered anything yet, she rolled her eyes, said we were ridiculous and walked away. We asked for a Manager, who was an 18-year-old, who walked over and told us not to harass their servers, so we walked out whilst the manager yelled at us for not paying for the margaritas we never ordered. My girlfriend had written a 3-page letter in greater detail than this about the entire experience and sent it to their corporate offices. The next day she had a voicemail from the franchisee owner of that restaurant, stating she shouldn’t be contacting corporate with service issues at their restaurant, and when she finally got him on the phone after 2 weeks of attempting, he told her she shouldn’t be saying things that didn’t happen, and offered her a $5 coupon for our next meal, without an apology which is what she was really after, to which she then promptly wrote another letter to their corporate offices about how rude he was. After all of that, no one we know has seen any of those employees at that Texas Roadhouse ever again, but we’ve never gone back.


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18. More Attention to Him

I took my husband (then boyfriend) out to dinner one night, my treat. When we sat down, the waitress was overly friendly with him, touching his shoulder, asking him what he wanted to order before me, and giggling at everything he said. At the beginning of the evening, I gave her the benefit of the doubt. I was a server at the time at a different establishment and had seen my coworkers flirt with customers. I figured she probably thought he was paying and assumed she’d get a big tip if she paid more attention to him.

The experience was awful for me but fantastic for my husband. His food came exactly as he ordered it, his glass was always full, and anything he needed, she immediately went to retrieve from the kitchen. All the while I sat there with an order that was made wrong, my glass empty, and my request for ranch dressing forgotten. This goes without saying that I asked her every time she came to our table for whatever I needed, only for her to neglect to fix or bring anything. Not only that, but who flirts with someone who is clearly on a date?

I made sure that I kept eye contact with her as I handed her the bill and the exact amount in cash. Her face fell when she realized she had been flirting with the wrong person throughout our meal.


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19. Pick Them Off

Was in an Italian restaurant, and waited 20 minutes before we were acknowledged, the owner finally came over and took our order, and we order a few starters and our mains, 40 minutes later no food, the owner comes out and gives us a bottle of wine and says it will be just a minute, 30 minutes later our mains arrive no starters, my pizza has mushrooms on and I’d asked for no mushrooms as I have a weird reaction with them. The owner says “it’s just a few, pick them off” and walks off!!

We were speechless.


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20. “That’s Not My Fault”

In Myrtle Beach. My wife wanted to eat at a restaurant that had seating in view of the beach. Found a neat place that was packed. Good sign. We had our ten-year-old daughter and our one-year-old son. Waited an hour and a half to get chicken wings and french fries while people all around us continues to get food. I had to ask the waitress several times about the status of our order. An hour after ordering she comes back and says she forgot what our order was. My son was hungry, restless and fussing nonstop at this point. I tell her we can just forget the food and go eat somewhere else. She apologized and begged to make it right. We allowed her to take another order. Thirty minutes later still no food. The waitress tells us the manager said that ‘they have waited this long they can just wait longer’ I was fuming at this point. Ten minutes later the manager brings the food out and sets it on the table. She asks If everything was alright. I told her it took too long she said “that’s not my fault”. I didn’t even eat. I was flabbergasted at the service.

We had ordered an appetizer before the meal. When the waitress brings the check out I tell her she can eat this meal. She says the manager is refusing to take off anything. Then she said she can take off the milk she brought for my son. My daughter points out she never brought any milk. I storm into the restaurant and demand that the bill be cut in half. The manager said I was trying to get a free meal. I showed her a receipt from a restaurant we ate at the night before for 120.00. She told me to pay and leave.

I immediately got on Facebook and TripAdvisor and relayed my experience. The first thing the next morning the owner calls me at 8 am. He is apologizing profusely and refunded my entire bill. He offers for me to come back and get a free meal and hats and shirts and everything. I told him that I wouldn’t be back but I did take down the scathing reviews.

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21. Wide-Eyed and Shocked

When I was about 5-7 years old (can’t quite remember), me, my mother, my two older brothers, and my brother’s friend went into an Outback Steakhouse. Everything was fine, we got our meals, and we dug in. However, my mother had gotten the steak, and a tough one at that. Out of nowhere, she stood up and began to flail around, grabbing at her neck. She was choking on a hunk of meat and being my young self, I had NO idea what to do. I began to cry, and my brothers began to cry out as well, and I remember my brother’s friend’s expression being of dazed, desperate confusion.

Everyone in the restaurant merely stared at the spectacle like it was some kind of circus act. The 30-something hostess by the desk watched wide-eyed before ACTUALLY walking back towards the kitchen. Two adults in both pointed, doing nothing except watching as my young self watched my mother choking.

Thankfully, my older brother got up from his booth, got behind her, and pressed her stomach with his arms. The piece shot out of her mouth, and my mother was okay. If it weren’t for my 12-year-old-something brother, she would probably have to be carried off to the ER, or even worse.

The memory is very easy to remember in my mind. Seeing waiters and waitresses staring, dazed and confused, wide-eyed and shocked, but never acting. My mother then asked to see the manager, and we got out meals for free. My brother’s friend lightened up the moment, making a joke about how the steak was ‘to die for’. We’ve never gone to that restaurant again.


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22. Burget Patty Paper

Ordered a burger, bit into it, and realized I am chewing on paper, I think that a piece of the burger patty paper may have gotten stuck so I take it out of my mouth.

It was a band-aid. I was 12 years old.

I threw up on the table.

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23. Close Together

My grandmother and parents took me on a trip to Italy for my 19th birthday after I had studied Italian for four years. For my birthday dinner, we went to a restaurant that was highly recommended by our hotel. The food and staff were wonderful, however, the tables were quite close together and a man (who seemed to be on a date) kept interrupting my family’s conversations to contribute, normally with pretty rude and presumptuous statements. The woman he was with would look very embarrassed whenever he started debating with us. I wouldn’t have minded very much but my mother was inconsolable over my “ruined” birthday dinner.

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24. Silently Staring and Standing

Went to a diner for dinner with my wife. We’re seated and the waitress hands us our menus and proceeds to stand there, silently, while holding her pen to her notepad. My wife and I are exchanging looks but not saying anything.

It’s awkward.

After about 30 seconds I say to her, “We’re going to need a few minutes to decide.” To which she replies, “Ok.” And doesn’t move. She waited there a solid 5 minutes, silently staring, waiting for us to decide what we wanted for dinner.

Fast forward to bringing our meals out. She places our dishes in front of us and, once again, proceeds to stand there silently. I ask her “Is there something else?” to which she replies “How is your food?”. B*tch, I haven’t even taken a bite. But really I say “I don’t know, I haven’t tried it yet.” She waited there until we each tried our food and confirmed that everything was, in fact, all right.

The food was actually pretty good. Super awkward though.


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25. Terrible Grin

This will be buried. My dad stutters and has for his entire life. Was at a local family restaurant we have been going to for years. The new waiter comes to take our order. Dad: “just a c-c-cup of c-coffe for me, p-please.” The waiter pauses with a terrible grin on his face and responds: “Ok s-sir, I’ll b-be right b-back with your c-c-c-c-coffee.”

I was absolutely dumbfounded. My dad told me to just relax and let it go. He is used to getting made fun of for it. F*ck that. I got up and screamed at the waiter in front of the owner. He was surprised and shaken up and ended up dropping an entire tray of drinks. F*ck him. The owner was very apologetic but we have never been back.

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26. That’s not Icing

I dated a girl who worked at a local sit-down restaurant in the area. Her best friend was a waitress there as well. The girl and I had a nasty split after about a year or so and I thought everything was fine. One day a couple of months later my family and I go back to that restaurant.

Our waitress is my ex’s best friend. We recognize each other, exchange pleasantries and go about ordering our food. Everything seems fine, but the girl just did a poor job of waiting at the table. She rarely checked on the table, never filled drinks, and some food came out wrong, all in all, a pretty rough night. But then came dessert. We ordered a bag of doughnuts that come with cream on the side to dip them in. The doughnuts arrived, but with no cream.

We asked for the cream and she brought it out. My sister took a doughnut, dipped it in and took a bite, and burst into tears. My mom, wondering why, did the same and almost threw up. Of course, I tried it next.

What should have been vanilla icing tasted more like spoiled mayonnaise, ranch and paprika mixed into a paste. It was horrendous. Needless to say, when the manager passed by our table and asked how our meal was we held no punches. The manager even tried it and his exact words, with a puzzled look on his face, were “You’re right, that’s not icing.” He had a word with that server after, and while I didn’t want anyone fired, I think that’s what ended up happening.

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27. Everyone Stopped

I went to eat at a small restaurant in town. It was one of those where you could see in the kitchen. The owner started yelling at the chef. The argument got more and more heated until everyone stopped eating and was watching it. Then the chef punches the owner, I mean clocks him hard in the face. They yell some more, then GO BACK TO WORK as if nothing happened. It was so surreal.

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28. Took a Drink

My worst experience was at a chain in Charleston called “T-Bonez”.

I was with my aunt, her boyfriend, and a couple of friends from theirs. The waitress had a few tables but nothing that appeared overly busy. We were seated for 15 minutes before she even introduced herself. When she did we had already looked at the menu and, after giving our drink requests (2 sweet teas and Cokes), said we’d like to go ahead and order. She said, “Wait on that I’m a bit busy.” That seemed odd but whatever.

After another 10 minutes, she brings our drinks and takes our order. I don’t remember what the rest of the table ordered but I asked for some chicken, veggies, and mashed potatoes. Our friends who ordered the sweet tea took a drink and found it to be regular tea. They flagged the waitress and asked for her to bring sweet tea because that’s what they wanted. She insisted that she brought sweet tea; our friends disagreed. The waitress then picked up one of their glasses, took a drink, then slammed the cup down and said, “Tastes sweet to me.” She walked off without fixing the drinks.

When we got our orders there was something wrong with everyone’s plate except mine. I got a beautifully cooked piece of fish, crispy fries, and coleslaw…except for the fact that I ordered chicken, veggies, and mashed potatoes, it was a great meal. At this point, we didn’t feel like dealing with the waitress anymore except that I told her she put in the incorrect order which she then said she got the orders right I just didn’t remember what I wanted.

We didn’t see her at our table again that night. A different server brought our check. I certainly made a complaint to the management that night and left the tip she earned.

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29. Conversation Ensues

I went to a restaurant that just opened its doors and ordered a razzmatazz martini. It tasted like cough syrup. It was awfullll. I thought I might have been exaggerating so I asked my friends to try it and they agreed it was terrible. I told the waiter (the drink was still 95% full). Instead of taking it back and saying I will get you a new drink, the waiter went to get the manager. This was the first time I have ever sent a drink (or food) back. I worked in restaurants for many years and didn’t want to be that customer. However, this drink was terrible and I was not about to shell out $13 for it. Getting a free drink was not my mission, I just simply wanted a new one (that I fully expected to pay for). The manager walks up and conversation ensues:

Manager: Just curious why did you not like the drink? Me: Well, it tasted like cough syrup. Manager: Like cough syrup? Me: yes. Manager: I’m just curious, why would it taste like that? Me: I honestly have no idea. Had I known it would taste like that, I definitely wouldn’t have ordered it. (conversation continues back and for like this for 2 minutes…skip ahead). Manager: I’m just wondering have you ever had raspberry liqueur? Me: Yes, I have. Manager: Well, do you like it? Me: Yes, that is why I ordered a drink with it. Manager: Well, I am just trying to figure out why you don’t like the drink. Me: Because it didn’t taste good. I liked the sugar on the rim. Manager: Sooooo you have had raspberry liqueur? Me: Yes. Manager: Well, so what have you had exactly that has had raspberry liqueur in it? (So I start to explain some of the martinis at the restaurant I worked at in college and my favorite shot that has it). Manager: So how long have you been drinking? Me: Tonight? Manager: No. In general. Me: For a while now. Manager: Well, like how long? Me: Well, legally or before that? Manager: In bars. Me: Well, Like I said. Legally? or before that? Manager: Legally, I guess. Me: Two years. Manager: Well.

I would continue the conversation but it is pissing me off just thinking about it again. Not to mention, you get the point. (I wrote an old blog post about it right after it happened). Lady was a bitch, the waiter eventually brought me a different drink and then they charged me for the drink I sent back that was FULL. My table of friends refused to let me pay for that drink so they called over our waiter and asked for another manager or the owner. The new manager came out and apologized for the whole thing and said they sent the other girl home because she was in a “bad mood.” So dumb. We went the week the restaurant opened and within three months it was closed for good.

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30. A Mean Look

Late to the thread but the relevant story. When I was a little boy, around 3 or 4, my now stepdad took me out to eat chicken nuggets at McDonald’s. This was so my then-single mom could have a break. When my dad and I sit down I get ready to dig in and eat one nugget, and my dad tells me we have to go. I had a really bad attitude problem when I didn’t get my way as a child, but my dad told me we had to go, and we ended up leaving the food on the table.

Later my dad explained to me, when we sat down to eat three guys walked into McDonald’s and he recognized one of them. The one he recognized was giving him a mean look because this was a guy my dad, a police officer, had locked up a while ago. My dad wanted to leave because if he got into an altercation with them I’d be in danger. So we left and I found out why my dad sits where he can see entrances and exits to restaurants.

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