Going out to eat is supposed to be a pleasurable experience. It's something we do to celebrate events and milestones, something we do to share time with a potential partner, something we do just for delicious food we don't have to cook (or clean up after.) But that doesn't always mean it's going to go well.
Improper food storage, terrible staff, unsanitary conditions and more can all potentially turn a night out into a night gone wrong. So Reddit user Squid50s asked food professionals of reddit to share some of the red flags that patrons should look out for when they head out to eat.
Their responses will definitely have us keeping our eyes peeled the next time we head out for a meal.
The Sprite Nozzle
If there's a self serve soda machine go ahead and take a napkin around the inside of the Sprite/clear-soda-available nozzle. If your napkin comes out pink, brown, or orange SKIP THE SODA.
A Sprite nozzle should come out clear. If it's pink or orange then it's slime mold. If it's brown, it's likely cola. But if the cola nozzle was put on the sprite dispenser and is still brown you know the nozzles aren't being cleaned properly.
Also go ahead and look closely at the ice chute. I see green algae in those a lot.
Sick waitstaff. If restaurant owners encourage their waitstaff to work while sick (or don't help to find a replacement), you can count on getting sick too.
Down In FlamesGiphy
You might have to be a chef to recognize this, but my red flag is going into a busy restaurant and noticing none of the tables have food ,or not many customer are yet eating. This usually means the kitchen is going down in flames.
One time I noticed this and could see some food slowly stacking up in the window, but no orders coming out. I mentioned it to the server and he replied," I wouldn't suggest ordering food". He brought our drink check and we left. He was tipped well for his honesty.
Prime Meal Times
The empty or almost empty parking lot at prime meal times. There is your sign. If you do venture inside, if it is dirty, imagine how the kitchen looks.
Not a chef but my best-friend is and he says a large menu. Chances are a lot of things on a menu means that they are frozen. Also, it's difficult to train people to be good at making 40 different things so the quality is going to suffer.
SOME places like Chinese or Indian restaurants that are different combinations of about 30 fresh ingredients are an exception.
Not a chef, but ex-restaurant manager. How happy is the staff? Do they seem like they like their jobs? If the staff are miserable, you're not going to get quality food or service. It's worth seeking out restaurants that treat their staff well. If they're treated well, they'll treat you well.
Walk into the restroom first thing. If it looks like cleaning there has been neglected, the kitchen is probably worse.
I've heard that if you actually smell fish at a sushi restaurant, it's in your & your insides best interest to hightail it out of there.
Sushi chef ringing on this one.
There are many factors that play a role in the development of bad smell, and pure fishiness has more to do with bloodlines (chiai) and blood than anything else. I'm seeing a lot of this and that, but no one is really hitting it on the head.
A fish smells like a fish. There's stages in its breakdown however, that change smell by removing different pieces of anatomy:
- whole fish -
Not much to say here, should smell and look like a regular fishymcfishfish. Flesh should be elastic and rebound after touch (not bruising or leaving dents), gills should be bright in color and not gray or dark brown, eyes should not be cloudy, and the scales or skin shouldn't be very slimy.
- head and gut (H&G) -
Scales generally intact (depends on fish, I would scale a bass here but not a salmon), not slimy at all. The fish should have been well cleaned with water and scrubbed then wiped down with a dry rag. The head is removed with the guts and the belly is opened.
And this is crucial boys, you bleed the fish out by making an incision on the spine inside the belly and thoroughly cleaning that out. Then dry it.
- filet -
Filleting a fish is basically removing the spine as it traverses from the dorsal fin to the spine. You do it one side at a time, but the end result is equivalent.
- saku/loin -
This is what's screwing people up real bad here. You still have to pull off the ribs to expose the belly meat, then separate the shoulder from the belly across the bloodline. The bloodline is where the spine USED to be but it's perpendicular to the orientation of the removed spine. It's removed as you separate the two pieces (belly and shoulder) ....
Which finally brings me to chiai. In traditional Japanese and Asian it can get left on. However, it goes bad faster than the meat. Since I'm not great at anatomy I can't really tell you exactly what it is, but to my American palate it tastes terrible alone. Leaving this on will cause it to go bad faster and you can greatly extend the life of the product by removing it before storage. It's generally removed after skinning and predominantly on the shoulder loin.
So let's recap. We've removed the head, guts, bones, scales, skin, blood, bloodline, and chiai. What's left?
Pure fish. It doesn't smell at all except for minor amounts of fish oil. If I catch even a whiff of fishiness while I'm working service with a finished product, it goes in the trash.
Gray meat? Trash.
But fish, good fish, should not smell like aged fish. Repeated encounters with unclean or relatively unclean surfaces can inspire bacterial growth that cause smell. Which is why I clean my cutting board and wash my hands regularly to reduce cross contact and remove biofilm. Biofilm is what bacteria thrive in. It's like nature's natural petri dish. It's why I remove the slime.
If You Can See The Kitchen Then Look For...
Worked in a bunch of restaurants in college. Many say look at the drop tiles in the ceiling but that is more indicative of the land owner than the restaurant owner. If I can see the kitchen I always look at the cleanliness of counters, floors, walls. What do the rags look like? Where is the trash in relation to the cook surfaces and prep stations. If the grease traps on the griddle exhausts look extremely dirty (should be removed and cleaned nightly). Is there any food out on prep stations possibly getting warm? Should it be in refrigerated stations underneath the cook area or in the walk in fridge?
For my NYC people "Grade Pending" doesn't mean that the restaurant is awaiting judgement on their health inspection. It means that they failed and are given a grace period to fix their wrongs.
Listen To Your Server
Not a chef but a waitress for several restaurants. If the wait staff recommends you don't get something, TRUST THEM. I used to work at a country club but the kitchen was horrible. Food was rotting in the fridge, raw and uncovered meat was put above uncovered desserts, etc.
If I noticed food going bad or set where it may be contaminated, and a member tried to order it, I'd straight up tell them, "I don't recommend that, but (insert menu item) is great!". Waitresses/waiters don't always do this, but if they do, listen to them! It might prevent you getting sick.
A Green Flag
More a green flag: if you're eating ethnic food and all the customers are of the ethnicity in question then the food is probably going to be freaking awesome.
Don't put too much stock in online reviews. You have to remember that people are more likely to review after a bad experience than a good one. At the same time, part of my job as a waiter was to write fake reviews for us on TripAdvisor. It was a really decent place too but we definitely drew the wrong crowd and struggled to get happy customers to leave a review. Not saying don't trust reviews at all, just be mindful of it.
Also if you finish your starters for instance and you're really not happy with the food or the service, just pay for what you've had and leave. Most of these nights that are on course to be disappointing are still salvageable and there's no point spending money on a sh!t night because you don't want to be rude.
The Substitution Conundrum
Watch for "No Substitutions".
If the place makes it's own food, they can sub virtually anything for anything else. While they may try to play it up as "Our food is perfect and we refuse to change it on moral grounds", its almost always a sign of "This was made 2 months ago and all we do is reheat it."
This can go either way. What you're saying can be correct, but there's more to it.
I used to work at a place that had no substitutions, but they made everything to order and as close to "from scratch" as possible. Why did they have the policy?
Because during the rush, people would come in and sub something so much that it wasn't even a menu item anymore. This would throw off food costs sometimes, and make tickets drag out of the kitchen a lot. You know what makes people complain more than anything else? Slow food on their lunch break.
It got to be so bad that the owners (who owned a number of restaurants) bailed on it and sold the place. I was briefly part of management there before it closed and got a look at the books, and they were in the black. The hassle of dealing with the picky yuppies at the location wasn't worth the amount of profit for them (they were in the black, but they weren't deep in the black), something I was told months later when I ran into one of them and asked why they'd sell a profitable business.
It more depends where you are.
I've worked in roughneck area's and mods are super rare.
But when I work in more so called "higher class" area's, people start getting more picky and demanding. Sometimes it's just because the customer wants to sound like they are more better/refined then they are, like wanting as steak "medium rare with no pink inside". By the way, that's literally not a real thing. If you don't want pink inside then it's not medium rare.
I dunno, I've seen some crazy stuff. Pizza no crust was one that particularly threw me for a loop.
"so... you just want sauce and cheese?"
"We can't run sauce and cheese through a pizza oven."
"Oh sure you can, just put in on some foil."
Queue asking the manager what the f they want me to do with this and a rather heated discussion with the guy working the pizza station, and that customer got their tomato sauce and cheese on foil.
Most subs are fine, but people will get way out there and start inventing their own stuff. Another of my favorites was:
"I see you have broccoli as a side"
"and you have chicken strips"
"And I see you have soy sauce over here on the asian hot wings"
"I want to order chicken strips no fries sub broccoli, and I want it stir fried and tossed with soy sauce, and some ginger if you have it"
And suddenly we're panda express.
The Kitchen Door
If possible, take a good look at the yard/parking lot/whatever the kitchen opens to. Check if it's reasonably clean, if there's rubbish bins or the bags are left on the ground, if the bags look puffy (meaning they've fermented and therefore have been sitting out for a while) and/or with holes in the bottom area (that means rodents). If the bags are left on the ground, that means the kitchen's not the cleanest around, as they will attract all kinds of pests. It's a pretty huge sign that either the chefs don't care or the owner's too cheap to buy bins and / or pay for proper garbage disposal. And I don't think I need to point out that a cheap owner will not buy the fresh, more expensive ingredients if s/he can get away with the cheapest frozen sh!t.
Also, if you're close enough to the door, check the floor for cigarette butts or joints. Lots of cigarettes are not a problem: a busy kitchen is stressful and plentiful cigarette breaks are what keeps a chef or line cook running without cracking under pressure. Few cigarettes may mean the kitchen's understaffed, overworked or both, so they're likely to take shortcuts when cooking or prepping. Lots of weed leftovers... just choose another restaurant.
If it's an open kitchen, pay attention to how the chefs behave with the dishwashers. If they're respectful and treat them like human beings, or yell constantly and mistreat them. A mistreated washer is a HUGE red flag telling of a dysfunctional kitchen, stressed chefs, unacceptable shortcuts, and an idiot in charge, so you'll be better off eating somewhere else.
A Mafia FrontGiphy
My dad used to work in the restaurant business. We'll get back to that in a second.
One time, my wife and I went to a restaurant and had a very strange experience.
The place was highly rated, but we came in at an odd hour, so it was fairly dead. Like two other tables being served, out of thirty available. When the waiter comes to take our order, they have a list of specials longer than the regular menu.
The strangeness starts a little after that. We notice that there's, like, fifteen or twenty extra wait staff. Despite this clearly being a time of day that only needs a skeleton crew. Most of them are just, like, standing there. Not hanging out chatting, like happens at normal restaurants during a lull. Just standing there like they're expecting sometime to require their attention. But like seven people doing that, for three tables.
Somehow, despite there being thirty goddamn waiters for five people, we have terrible service. Despite seven people just watching stuff, no one checks in on us. Our food takes forever to come out. The waiters that are walking back and forth don't walk near or see us, so it takes us five minutes to flag down a manager. Some of the waiters may have had poor English as well, despite this not being an ethnic restaurant, although I may be mis-remembering that part. The managers promises to find out what's going on with our food.
The manager brings out our food. He tells us that he found it, since it was ready, but no one had brought it out. Because I guess all of the twenty waiters had more important things to do like standing around seeing if anyone needed salt or a napkin? How can I need salt if I don't have my food yet?
After some serious discussion, my wife and I conclude this must be a mafia front. All these people must be standing around appearing to be gainfully employed for money-laundering purposes. If the restaurant claims to be very busy with cash transactions during this time, the IRS will be suspect if there aren't enough payroll taxes to support waitstaff. So, they have real waitstaff. Maybe these people have extra duties on the side, not during business hours. Or something.
A few weeks later, my wife and I share with my dad our story of this ridiculous restaurant.
"First of all," we say, "the list of specials was like a mile long!"
"That sounds like it was a front," he says.
We are flummoxed. "OK but like... I mean, yes, it definitely was... but we didn't even get to the sketchy stuff!"
My dad explains: Restaurants need a supply chain. If something's on the menu, the restaurant needs a dependable source for those ingredients. They need to have it in stock, fresh, of acceptable quality, daily. Chefs spend a lot of time and effort sourcing ingredients. A good part of the Food Channel is spent in markets and whatnot.
If most of the menu is variable, then their supply chain is "my cousin has a box of fish that he says fell off the back of a truck, I guess halibut is on the menu today!" This is a reflection of their business practices in general.
So now we know: If the list of "specials" is longer than the menu, then it's a mafia front.
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Sous chef of two years (which isn't very long) at an Artisan Sausage Shop which is well respected. So other head chefs at local places come by and feel comfortable talking shit about other establishments and different chefs have some similar things to say.
Mainly in sushi restaurants if you go for sashimi/nigiri/sushi and if the meat isn't on that lil clear cold bar where they showcase the various raw fish, an hour or so after open, then that means the chef is lazy and hasn't prepared the fish properly so that it is preserved at a proper temperature. Says a lot about the laziness of chefs working there and the managers keeping tabs on them. Especially sketchy if you're in a land locked city/town and you know the fish is almost always frozen.
Oh also bathroom cleanliness will tell you a lot about how they stay sanitary.
Side note, expect your food at 'nicer' restaurants (30+ per person) to be touched by chefs without their gloves, meaning their bare hands and they sometimes won't wash their hands for an hour or so. So lots of hands touching food and then other food so on. Freaks some people out cus if you've worked in service industry you know chefs can work high intensity during rush and they be getting swamp ass and itch their ass subconsciously and then plate your food.
"It's quite obvious..."
The sauce tops. It's quite obvious if it's been cleaned or not. Chances are it will tell you if the bottle is sanitary.
"After one health infraction..."
I worked in a high end seafood restaurant one summer in Vancouver. After one health infraction, they stepped their game up and ensured everything was fresh and all kitchens were cleaned top to bottom every night. I started as a dishwasher and move up to prep-cook. They had like eight of us stay one or two hours after closing to deep clean the kitchens. We would remove all the overhead vents, clean every seal on every fridge, remove things from shelves to clean out. They would check every night meticulously to ensure the kitchen was 100% clean before we can leave. They of course, paid us extra and we received a portion of the tips. I was pleasantly surprise the amount of time and detail they would undergo. Pride in every detail was made known and it only helped the business.
If a restaurant has a theme to it and you walk inside to find that the inside doesnt even match said theme then that probably means they dont know how to run a restaurant.
"I have worked in diners..."
I have worked in diners for over half my life. Look at the condiments on the table people. If they are an unkempt mess, are grimy and look old then the kitchen is this way too. Nobody cares in this joint.
"The food may not be horrible..."
When they have a large menu with different cuisines. Like, if it's an Italian restaurant, it shouldnt be selling burritos. The food may not be horrible but if it's not focused, it ain't gonna be the best thing either.
"It's just been marinating..."
When you see servers walking around with the ticket presenter shoved in the back of their pants, just know that they've had that same ticket presenter since they started working there It has never, ever, been cleaned or washed in any way. It's just been marinating in ass sweat.
Health inspection scores are really based on the individual inspector. They all have their personal "pet peeves" that they will flag and other things that they will ignore. They can be wildly inconsistent. For instance I had a health inspector for about 2 years who never gave me below a 98. She had a child and took some time off. The inspector taking her place came in and acted like my restaurant was a dump. Gave me a low score and even took two points off because he didn't think the lights in the kitchen were bright enough. I hadn't done anything differently.
Then I got another health inspector that was filling in and I told him that I got brighter bulbs to solve the light problem. He said "what?? You were docked points for the lights?? that's ridiculous!" Then he took points off because I was reusing pickle buckets to store dry goods in. I consistently kept my place very clean. Yet my score would vary depending on which inspector showed up. It was beyond aggravating.
"Investment in good staff..."
For me it is if the design of the restaurant looks really fancy and they invested massively in furniture and such. But the waiting staff has an average age of 19-20. For me it is a classic mistake that loads of restaurant make nowadays. Investment in good staff is way more valuable than looks. Even though a qualified and talented restaurant staff is hard to come by, in the Netherlands at least.
"Look for places..."
Big menu means it's highly likely the food is from the freezer. Look for places with a small(ish) menu and the food should be fresh.
"Don't ever go..."
Dont ever go to a restaurant that's about to close in 30 minutes. Many start cleaning and all the dust and cleaning solution is making its way around the food.
"It's literally all I handle..."
Sushi Chef here, please stop eating at seafood restaurants if you have a severe allergy to fish. It's literally all I handle all day and having to properly sanitize my station in the middle of the weekend rush is the last thing I wanna do.
"If you're not willing..."
If you go out for sushi, please stay away from sushi tracks. They are very sketchy and having sushi just sitting out to get warm is not good. Fish will always be expensive, if you're not willing to pay the extra few dollars for the good stuff, stay away from all types of raw fish.
"I generally stay away..."
Chef here...I generally stay away from meals that seem out of place or dont have some of the same ingredients as other dishes. Product for the not so popular items may not be as fresh. For example...tuna salad at a gas station deli. You know they're not selling enough of that for it to be fresh everyday.
"Only an idiot..."
Actual former chef here. These comments saying, "don't eat (whatever food) on a (day of week) because it's leftovers..." This is called utilization. Specials are just that. Things that we'd rather sell than throw out. Those of us who actually know what we're doing, carefully cool down and store things so they have as much menu life as possible. Only an idiot would throw away perfectly good, saleable food if it didn't sell on the first night.
"There's literally nothing..."
If you're gluten free, for whatever reason, please don't go to a "from scratch" Italian restaurant.
There's literally nothing we can do to get that crap out of anywhere. Thanks to the flour, it permeates the air.
"If there's a funky smell..."
If there's a funky smell that's even slightly (or stronger) urine like, the restaurant probably has a rodent problem. Best to leave.
"What cleaning jobs..."
Overworked staff. What cleaning jobs do you think are getting missed if staff are far too stretched and or unhappy at work?
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Y'all know that one Hannah Montana song? “Everybody makes mistakes! Everybody has those days!" That's the song I sing to myself every time I accidentally burn myself while making ramen. It comforts me to know, however, that there are a lot of worse mistakes out there than some spilled ramen. Who knew?
In fact, some mistakes are so astronomical that they're remembered for decades afterwards, leaving the one who made the mistake a legacy of being a dumba**. Here are a few of them!!!
Some may argue that the existence of the Universe was a mistake. I disagree. It was clearly Zayn leaving One Direction. But these next few were pretty bad too.
If you do the math, this is also the reason why Hentai exists.
I'll say the wrong turn Franz Ferdinand's driver made that went right in front of Gavrilo Princip.
EDIT: yes I'm aware war may still have broken out even if Franz Ferdinand wasn't assassinated
Imagine you're Gavrilo Princip. The assassination plot you and your friends had been cooking up for about the last year or so has been a complete and total disaster, just a monumental f*ck-up of the highest degree. You're staked out at this deli thinking maybe, just maybe the car will pass by, and by some stroke of sheer luck, it does.
If you're Princip, this is nothing short of serendipity.
Petition to return to the ocean.Ocean Surf GIFGiphy
"Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans."
"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move." - Douglas Adams
This was, in fact, a monumental mistake.
Sears not beating Amazon to the punch.
Blockbuster not buying Netflix.
You thought THOSE were bad? Well gear up for their next few, because they are 100% accurate. Except the one about Cats, that movie slaps.
I don’t know sports, but sure.
Seahawks not running it.
I used to wear a Seahawks jersey whenever I took a test because I knew I would pass when I shouldn't.
CATS is great, y'all are just boring.Giphy
The Emoji Movie.
That live action movie about Cats is also up there.
Very fair point.
Humans are not wired to have that many social interactions and maintain that many relationships. Plus the echochambers it allows people to create for themselves, no matter how conspiratorial or vile their beliefs, means that stupid/evil people are no longer shunned into changing their mind.
Not sure it was worth being able to see what a celebrity had for lunch or what new "dance" your younger cousin and her tween friends are doing.
But in all seriousness, some horrible things may now have happened if the right thing was halted at the right time.
Washington called it.George Washington Disney GIF by Hamilton: An American MusicalGiphy
Voting for people based on what side of the political spectrum they're on. George Washington himself advised against political parties because he thought they would cause too much division in this country. Unfortunately for everyone, he was right.
Big oops on that one.
Barack Obama mocking Donald Trump at the Correspondents Dinner might have led directly to his 2016 run....
"Now, I know that he's taken some flak lately, but no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald," Obama said. "And that's because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter — like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?"
Then he turned serious: "But all kidding aside, obviously, we all know about your credentials and breadth of experience. For example — no, seriously, just recently, in an episode of 'Celebrity Apprentice' — at the steakhouse, the men's cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. And there was a lot of blame to go around. But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so ultimately, you didn't blame Lil Jon or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Busey. And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir. Well handled."
This is the best Star Wars and no one can change my mind.
I'll take 'Star Wars Christmas Special' for $100.
That atrocious pile of manure gave us Boba Fett, so without the Christmas Special there won't be The Mandalorian.
Wow, in this article, I openly admitted my love for Cats AND The Star Wars Holiday Special. So maybe my existence was the biggest mistake of all.
ANYWAY, I hope you enjoyed, and I hope you all feel a little bit better about yourself. Because when push comes to shove, at least you didn't accidentally start World War I
When I was younger, it seemed every adult believed that you couldn't swim for several hours after eating. Why did they all believe this? I fought them on this all the time, by the way. I shouldn't have had to, just because I'd eaten some barbecue during a pool party. Guess what, though? That belief is unfounded.
After Redditor MelonInACat asked the online community, "What is a common myth that has been debunked that too many people believe?" people told us about the myths that are still around despite credible evidence.
"Do you know how many wellness checks..."
You must wait 24 hours before reporting a missing person.
- 24 hours from when? The time you realized they were missing? The time you estimate they went missing? The time of the initial report to police?
- Who is the legal timekeeper? If this is a law, it must have a designated timekeeper for official records. City police? County sheriff? Do I hire a private attorney to file a time-keeping motion in court?
- If the most likely time to find a missing person is the first 24 hours, why would you wait 24 hours?
- If the person dies or is severely injured because the county/state refused to initiate a search, doesn't that put some liability on their office? It seems like that would've been tested in court by now.
There's no law governing how long you have to wait before notifying the police of a missing person. It's nonsense. File a report as soon as you suspect the person is missing or in danger.
Do you know how many wellness checks officers go on in a day? Call it in, man...
CALL IT IN!
Why would you wait so long? It's absurd and wastes valuable time. And in the event something has happened, you could very well be saving someone's life.
"Popping your knuckles..."
Popping your knuckles is actually harmless and the "study" that claimed it caused arthritis was heavily flawed. Studies now show that it has nothing to do with causing arthritis.
I heard this one all the time.
I didn't crack my knuckles anyway because I didn't understand the appeal. Why were all the first-graders so fascinated by this?
"That if you get too close..."
That if you get too close to a baby bird, the mother will smell human on the baby and abandon the nest.
You probably should still avoid touching baby birds for other reasons like disease or risking injury to the animal though.
"That waking a sleepwalker..."
That waking a sleepwalker is dangerous for them. They might wake up confused, but they'll be fine unless you scream at them or something.
"That your hair and fingernails..."
That your hair and fingernails still grow after you die. It's mainly an optical illusion. Your skin decays and shrinks, causing hair and fingernails to look like they've grown.
I grew up hearing this.
There are entire generations of people who believe this.
"We all know the story."
The War of The Worlds broadcast in 1938. We all know the story: Orson Welle's broadcast War of The Worlds over the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). But people only tuned in partway through and heard the radio announcing that machines were landing in the country and were advancing and attacking. People panicked in the streets and thought aliens really were invading. There was hysteria on the streets, people were looting and traffic jams backed up as people tried to escape.
But it turns out, that isn't really true. It turns out barely anyone actually listened to the broadcast, and the few that were listening knew it was Orson Welles and knew it was just a broadcast of War of the Worlds. If there was anyone that did tune in and mishear it and panicked, it was nowhere near the hundreds and thousands that have been reported in this myth.
This one is definitely a popular urban myth by this point.
Cool story, but nowhere near as exciting as you might have heard. If anything, that mythos probably helped Welles get full artistic control of the projects, like Ciitizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons, that made him a star.
"You don't have to wait..."
You don't have to wait 3 hours after eating to swim. Every summer I have to fight my in-laws about it.
"Do you really think..."
That not turning your airplane mode on (smartphone) can interfere/jam communications.
Do you really think if a smartphone might endanger a whole plane with passengers they would let it fly?
"No amount of reasoning..."
That cats kill babies.
I've run into this so many times since having kids. And it's not the older grandmas making these statements. I've had 20-year-olds tell me that you can't have cats if you plan to have babies because "they'll steal their breath" or some other variation. No amount of reasoning or rationale will dissuade them of this belief.
"Maybe it's just one of those things..."
YOUR. BLOOD. IS. NOT. BLUE! Seriously tho, I was told that everyone's blood was blue on the inside when I was younger, and I honestly don't know why my Mom thought that. Maybe it's just one of those things that you only believe because your family has been saying it since your Grandma's Grandpa's Grandma's Grandma's Grandpa or something like that.
Here's some valuable advice, guys:
Google is your friend. It's very easy to debunk this stuff. I remember being taught that the tongue had taste zones––we even had to fill out a worksheet labeling the tongue's different zones. That's totally wrong, in case you haven't figured it out.
Have some myths you've heard you'd like more people to know have already been debunked? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments section below!
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As much as we're not supposed to feel satisfaction upon observing the struggles of other people, it can be hard to resist a silent, internal fist pump when some blunder occurs immediately after we tried to help the person prevent it.
It is all a result of stubbornness.
The person we're trying to help is stubborn. They think they know the best way to do something, or the exact information required for a given moment.
And, on top of that, they think we're being stubborn when we try to intervene.
So all of our attempts to help fall on deaf ears. And the results can be as calamitous as they are satisfying.
TenaciousBrit asked, "What's your 'I told you so' moment?"
Many people chose to talk about the times their friends or family ended up producing some truly entertaining physical comedy.
And the laughter was only enhanced with the knowledge that they'd just predicted the whole thing.
"Was picking beans with my sister and mom. To this day I still don't know why the fence was electric but it was. I touched it and I got zapped. It wasn't too bad but it hurt. I jumped away and my sister saw me, I said that it was an electric fence."
"Of course she just thought I was pranking her. I was trying to tell her the whole time we picked beans but she didn't believe me. Right at the end she touched the fence and she didn't see it coming at all... Her face was just like, 'Oh shi-' "
"Loved the car ride home, 'I told you... Idiot.' "
No Babies, Two Hurt Backs
"My sister and I were out sledding when we were kids at this place with a really steep hill. I had unknowingly gone down a sled path that had a jump in it, and when I landed it really hurt my back."
"So when I got back up to the top of the hill I told my sister 'don't go that way, the jump really hurts.' She called me a baby and didn't believe me that it really hurt so she decided she would go down that path on her sled."
"Well, she hit the jump and didn't get back up, turns out she fell so hard she had broken her leg. When we finally got her back up the hill and to the car, I got to tell her 'I told you so.' "
"This dumb a**hole woman wouldn't leave the llamas at our petting zoo alone, even after I warned her."
"Eventually they had enough and spit alllll over her. Green goopy spit from head to torso."
"She threw up a bunch and I laughed. Until I smelled it and then I was retching too."
Others recalled the times they trusted their instincts, only to be gaslighted by medical professionals.
But they did, eventually, get the help they needed. And the mixture of pride and frustration toward the other doctor was palpable.
"Had a weirdly dark freckle. The color of chocolate. I showed spouse and he called me a hypochondriac and if I go to a doctor, I'd be wasting their time."
"I went to the dermatologist. It was melanoma."
Years of Itchy Apples
"Since I was 14, my throat got itchy when I ate apples. I told my mom but she thought I just didn't want to eat apples and forced me to eat them."
"Went to the doctor's office and got a test for allergies."
"Turns out, I'm allergic to apples, peaches, and many other fruits."
This Was a Baby We're Talking About Here!
"My newborn baby was projectile vomiting after every feeding. I took her to the doctor several times, always ended up being sent away with suggestions to try a different formula. I tried like 4 different ones, no change."
"The 4th or 5th visit, they sent me away again with the same recommendation even though I pleaded with them to figure out what was wrong with my baby. I left the office and drove to the ER instead. She ended up having emergency surgery that day."
"The surgeon said she would have starved to death (or maybe dehydrated?) had she gone much longer without the surgery. I gave the doctors in that office a piece of my mind."
Dirt: Not Always the Answer
"Went to the doctor on and off for breathing problems to no avail. A lot of 'rub some dirt on it' mentality. Wound up in the ER as a result of an asthma attack. Kept the bracelet on and everything when I went back the next week to see him."
"Not as satisfying as I would've hoped."
And some people discussed the times they knew or predicted a piece of information, but couldn't seem to persuade someone else through dialogue or conversation.
But, of course, the truth always comes out.
Chose the Wrong Partner
"Lawyer here. Fired a partner who I found some real irregularities in their spending habits vs. what they were making after he couldn't provide a good answer to where it came from. Other partner left and started a new firm with them because they disagreed with my decision and refused to look at the evidence."
"Turns out he stole 500k of a clients money, got disbarred, and is now facing prison time. I told her to look at the evidence and she didn't listen. 🤷🏼♂️"
"Someone started talking about a bottle of Newman's Own salad dressing while at dinner with my family and I said something like 'I'm pretty sure that was started by the Actor/Race car driver Paul Newman.' to which one of my siblings replied 'No it was someone else.' "
"I grabbed the bottle and turned it around and started reading the label out loud. The first sentence was 'Paul Newman's career was acting, but his passion was auto racing.' I stopped reading after that."
He Knew Immediately
"Bed frame wasn't properly lashed down while moving, partner insisted the weight of the frame would keep it in place."
"Flew into the middle of a major intersection on a left turn. We dodged four lanes of oncoming traffic to collect the pieces."
"I fixed my partner with a look that could peel paint, and he said 'I know, I know, you told me so and you're right. I'm sorry.' "
"I still give him sh** for it every time we move something. It's funny now, but god damn was I pissed at the time."
We can draw a couple of lessons from this list.
First, know that, at the end of the day, you can only do your best to share your opinion. You need to accept that they're going to do what they're going to do.
Second, when someone tries to give you advice, maybe take a moment to listen.
One of the most upsetting aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic––which is saying a lot, frankly––is the number of people who have been so affected by misinformation and disinformation. You know the ones to which I refer: These are the people who are convinced the virus is a hoax despite the lives it's claimed and the devastation it has wrought on society at large. Disinformation kills––there are stories of people who remained convinced that Covid-19 is a hoax even while intubated in the ICU, even up to their last breath.
After Redditor asked the online community, "Doctors of Reddit, what happened when you diagnosed a Covid-19 denier with Covid-19?" doctors and other medical professionals shared these rather unsettling stories.
"The one that sticks out in my mind..."
I'm a doctor working in acute internal medicine. I've seen lots of COVID over the last 12 months, probably 300+ cases. The one that sticks out in my mind the most was a 70-year-old lady with COPD. She refused to have a vaccine because she didn't trust it despite the fact she was eligible for one for weeks beforehand (in the UK). Subsequently caught COVID and was admitted to hospital. She repeatedly doubted this was the diagnosis. She refused to go to our COVID High Dependency Unit despite quite significant respiratory failure. Of course, she deteriorated over a number of days to the point where she was on maximal oxygen on the ward and at that point finally accepted treatment in HDU with high flow oxygen, although continued to doubt she had COVID. Died within 24 hours of her HDU admission having refused to go to ICU.
And of course, what did her family say? They were convinced she never had COVID and even went as far as accusing us of withholding life-saving treatment from her. Unfortunately, there's no treatment for stupidity.
Indeed there isn't.
A completely avoidable tragedy.
"My worst experience..."
My worst experience was when a 2-year-old kid got diagnosed with COVID. His mother had brought him with c/o fever and diarrhea. The child was severely dehydrated and so we had to do a mandatory swab test since we planned to admit him. It came positive and the mother refused to admit it. We were ready to perform a repeat test and we even advised the parents to get tested. Her defense was "The child never left the house. It's just me and the father who go to work daily. The grandmother babysits while we are away. How can he even get COVID without leaving the house." She had called her husband, he came with 10-15 relatives in a car, they broke a few chairs and then left with the baby. We just informed about the case to the COVID control centre.
"Only one patient ever accused me..."
Infectious disease doctor here. Seen about 450-500 COVID patients in the hospital since it all started. Only one patient ever accused me of using the nasal swab to give him COVID (along with a microchip). A handful have ranted nonstop about China. Everyone else has been sick enough to accept it, but lots still refuse the idea of vaccination even after being in the ICU.
"I had a lady who was maxed out..."
I had a lady who was maxed out on high flow (the next step is breathing tube) who still refused to believe she had Covid and was holding a negative test in her hand that she had taken a week prior.
The denial is so strong here.
It would be sad if it wasn't so horrifying.
"I'm an attending physician..."
I'm an attending physician at our Triage Unit. On a Friday, an older gentleman (60 + years) came in with his entire family (wife, sister, BIL, 2 nephews, and 3 children), none of them with a face mask. All had mild COVID symptoms except him, he was saturating 80% with evident shortness of breath. We insisted on doing PCR and a chest CAT scan looking for COVID but he and his wife refused, saying that COVID wasn't real and it was just a bacterial infection. The more we talked with him the more agitated he got to the point that his face was red. We suggested hospitalizing him to stabilize him and start treatment, but they accused us of exaggerating his symptoms and that we only wanted to hospitalize him so we could steal the liquid in his knees (a stupid rumor that was going around when this whole thing started).
They both cursed at us and said they were going to a better hospital to get antibiotics. Fast forward 24 hours later on Saturday, I get a call from the hospital next county over telling us that they intubated one of our patients because he went into respiratory failure when he arrived and they had to transfer him here because they don't have the appropriate equipment. We transfer the patient on Sunday only to find out on the CAT scan he had 90% of lung damage. He passed away on Monday morning.
Just before the family took the body away, I gave the widow the death certificate (that I filled out) and before walking away, she turns around and waves the certificate yelling "See! I told you it wasn't COVID! It says here: "Death due to pulmonary pneumonia due to SARS-CoV-2! I knew it was a bacteria!" I told her: "SARS-CoV-2 is COVID-19, ma'am."
The lengths people are willing to go to stay in denial astound me.
Basic critical thinking appears to have gone out the window here.
I'm a family doc who mostly does outpatient.
I live in a pretty conservative area with a good proportion of COVID deniers, so I've been seeing COVID deniers since this mess became politicized (I've lost a few patients over the mask mandate).
Anyway, I'm pretty pleased to say that several of my COVID denying patients have completely turned their attitude around when they (or a close family member) contracted COVID. Even if their case wasn't severe, the sudden terror that they could wind up on a ventilator overnight really puts the fear of God into people.
Unfortunately, I still have some patients who are still pretty obnoxious despite their covid diagnosis. They mostly dig deeper into paranoia. If not about the virus itself, then about the circumstances surrounding them contracting it.
"If Fauci had done his job from the beginning, it never would've hit this town."
"It's the entire fault of Obamacare that I can't get the experimental immunoglobulin treatment!" (It's not, your eligibility for the infusion is dependent on a list of risk factors).
And, probably my favorite...
"So I have COVID and it's completely your responsibility to fix it. I need you to send Hydroxychloroquine, Zinc, Vit D, Lisinopril, and azithromycin to the pharmacy..." Then they proceed to get pissed at me when I don't.
"During our peak time..."
I'm an emergency department physician in the US. I work in an area that had the highest death rate for a solid couple of weeks in the country.
During our peak time when we had national news crews here covering how we were a s***show, saw numerous people screaming their Covid disease wasn't real despite being hypoxic and on large amounts of oxygen due to Covid. That was an unpleasant time as this was still early (May/June) and it was extremely political like people apparently plotting to kidnap our state governor due to lockdowns.
Saw a lot of people refusing Covid testing who needed admission for non-covid purposes because the swabs would give them covid or put some sort of tracking device. They weren't pleased when they then had to be admitted to our full-blown Covid floors. Our Covid floors resembled a warzone because they were understaffed and relative s***hole conditions as we basically converted hallways into covid floors.
Also saw a lot of people young people who weren't exactly deniers but thought you basically couldn't sick if you were young. Lots of people with their lungs permanently scarred or at a minimum a couple of weeks of misery and/or spread it to their loved ones who got extremely ill.
"The willful cognitive dissonance..."
Physician here. The willful cognitive dissonance is real. It never ceases to amaze me how many patients will refuse assistance from me to register to get vaccinated, make claims that vaccines are harmful, but then accept my medical care on anything else that suits their whim. Patients absolutely have the autonomy to refuse care, but why would you continue to see a physician and accept their medical advice and care if you think they would simultaneously recommend something to you that would be harmful?
I've posed this question to patients who are vaccine-hesitant: "Why would you let me manage your diabetes and hypertension if you think I would harm you by recommending vaccinations?" You cannot get any kind of thoughtful response aside from, "I just don't want to be vaccinated."
"Some denier patients lived..."
RN here with most of 2020 spent in COVID land. I never had anyone refuse treatment when things got serious. I know some of the MDs I worked with got yelled at, like the rest of us...but honestly, that happens frequently anyway.
Some denier patients lived, many of which had accepted reality by the end of their stay after seeing what we all were going through to treat them.
Some died telling me I was a sheep or an idiot or a liar between gasps of air.
COVID didn't care.
This comment is strangely poetic.
Covid definitely doesn't care. The virus lays waste to people and... that's it. Good luck with your games of Russian roulette.
"People are crazy."
I work on a COVID unit and I ran into a patient like this. They'd tell me over and over again about how they weren't really sick and about how I didn't need to be gowned up in PPE. They even tried to take my face shield off. If you test positive for COVID two times then you have COVID! People are crazy.
Covid disinformation is a very serious problem and it's costing people their lives.
What can be done about it?
News literacy matters: It's important to get information from verifiable sources. Scientists and medical professionals are trustworthy. Those with backgrounds in public health know what they're talking about. Some conspiracy theory you received from your distant cousin on WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger is not worth your time or consideration.
Have some of your own Covid denial stories to share? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!