'My Salad Is Alive!' People Who Swore To Never Go Back To A Restaurant Share Their Horrifying Tales.

'My Salad Is Alive!' People Who Swore To Never Go Back To A Restaurant Share Their Horrifying Tales.

Do I still have to tip?

Thanks to all the awesome people at Quora and Reddit who took the time to share their stories.

1. Many years ago my brother and I had breakfast in a small coffee shop in Plantation Florida. Served along with our breakfast were two glasses of Fresh Squeezed orange juice. However, one sip made it abundantly clear that what we actually drank was Fresh Pesticide!

The unusual color should have tipped us off that something was wrong but we missed that first sign. However we clearly didn't miss the second sign! Taking our first drinks simultaneously, we also simutaneosly spit out the foul tasting drinks with a spray that covered both of us!

Now that we were both covered in the foul stuff, the smell of malathion (that's what it smelled like to us) permeated the room, bad enough that the folks sitting next to us provided their condolences and mid meal, immediately left the restaurant.

To add insult to injury, we called over the owners (a middle aged Asian husband and wife) and told them about the problem. To our disbelief, they smelled the OJ and pronounced it fit for consumption! Shocked by their reaction, we suggested THEY drink our drinks, which of course they refused to do.

With their refusal to even acknowledge the issue, we refused to pay for the drinks and the owners promptly called the police. Fortunately, the patrolman took one smell of our pesticide OJ , turned to the owners and said they should be grateful that he didn't run them in for poisoning us.

To this day, I always smell my OJ first before taking that first taste.

The good news about this story since that day, I've never been bothered by mosquitos!

J Stephen Sadler

2. I took my family out to a restaurant in our nearest big city (Birmingham, UK). Its not a high end place but carries the name of a well known celebrity chef.

Firstly, I ordered what is normally a rich chicken casserole (cacciatore) with crusty bread. What I got was a single chicken leg with almost no sauce and the crusty bread was no more given that it was placed beneath the chicken.

But thats not what happened.

Just after I had finished my main course a young gentleman was standing at the pass. He was responsible for the final dressing of the plate. This guy had hair something like this

and his chefs hat was perched precariously on top (I kid you not).

I watched in horror as he ran his fingers through that greasy mop, all the while handling food that was about to be served. I commented to my hubby that if Id seen this earlier I wouldnt have ordered.

But this isnt what happened.

What happened was that he took his right index finger and inserted it into his nostril, pulled out the content and wiped it on his apron.

I will never eat there again, and what I had eaten didnt stay down very long either.

Oddly enough, after I wrote a review on Tripadvisor, stating what Id seen, the manager, after reading that I was too horrified to ever set foot in there again offered me a complimentary meal. Really? On the plus side, she took his description and hopefully he no longer works there.

Vicky Watson

3. My wife and I had ordered fish and chips to go at a less than famous fast-food outlet in New England. The server seemed belligerent to me, so I chided her a bit about her service. I can't recall what I said; but I do recall what she did in response.

She took my food and put it in an open container and moved to the rear of the outlet; then, using her own "rear," she picked her butt and made sure that what was on her finger contaminated my food.

Instead of reporting her, I simply (Continued)

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dumped the food in the trash. I led my wife away, so that we could find a cleaner place to get take out. I was both stunned and amused. For some reason, it struck me so odd and so incredibly, amazingly horrible that it didn't registered I could have probable sued her and her employer.

But I was a lawyer, so I knew that such a lawsuit might get thrown out for frivolity; besides, what hard worker who is kept busy all day preparing and delivering fast food does not get "behind" in their work sometimes.

Rod Vessels

4. A while ago I went to one of my favorite spots or I should say ex favorite spot (super china buffet ) with two of my buddy's . Before this happened I was in love with the restaurant they had the best food, a buffet filled with delicious Chinese food unlike any other restaurant and they even had a Mongolian barbecue station and desserts as long as I can see.

To top it off it was very cheap about $12 bucks for all you can eat buffet. I guess it was too good to be true . So me and my buddy's are eating our delicious food enjoying it better than anything I've ever enjoyed (we were stoned) when my buddy David looks at us with a face of shock/disgust.

He points at his plate so we look and what do we see ? A real, live larva just chilling on his food we went from complete bliss and deliciousness to disguist so we called the waiter and showed him the bug and he just stares at it for a while and he had no idea what to say and other waiter start coming to us and they have the same reaction just a bunch of speechless Asians around our tables lol so they called the manager and we told her we weren't gunna pay for that. And she starts flipping out and calls the cops on us that we don't want to pay and we told her the whole situation and so did her workers but all they cared about was the payment. I slowly realized we were causing a scene The whole staff came outside and customers were just staring at us argue with the workers meanwhile she's on the phone with the cops and I had literally just got off probation so I was kind of paranoid and didn't want trouble so I just gave her twenty dollars and left . It was disgusting and I'm still disappointed about it because It was one of my favorite spots smh

Eric Gomez

5. Back when I was in college there was a local place called the Peking Restaurant that served delicious Szechuan food. Id heard bad things about the cleanliness of the kitchen, but always said Id never discovered anything wrong with one of my meals there and kept eating at the place.

Then one day when I had ordered take out, after eating a sizeable portion of my meal I gasped as I noticed HALF of a cockroach in the remainder. Never again, and Ive kept track of subsequent restaurants that family opened in my city after Peking closed to make sure I never eat their food again.

Matt Lemmons

6. My SO used to go security for an upscale area kinda like a strip mall. But with very high end restaurants and stores. There was one restaurant that I really wanted to try out. The smell of the food coming out of that place made my mouth water.

One day, he came home and told me we'd never eat at that restaurant. Ever. Turns out they'd opened the back door when it got too hot. On that day, he witnessed one cook giving another cook a haircut. In the kitchen.

Liz Smith

7. 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 70's. 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 HELL?!"


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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 [crap], 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 I. 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.


8. I was spat on by a drunk lady because McDonalds didn't have lasagne. I didn't even work there, I was just eating my McNuggets.


9. I got my food served to me, my Indian friend got told to pick hers up from the counter.


10. 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. Stomach's rumbling, you're salivating, you're so damn 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, 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.


11. My girlfriend and I used to regularly go to our local pub specifically because the service was so bad. They always (Continued)

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took several tries to bring us what we ordered and we enjoyed people watching and observing the chaos behind the counter when a "rush" of more than one order came in at a time.

Somehow my worst restaurant experiences there were some of my fondest dining memories.


12. I was eating with a friend. While we were talking I noticed that part of my salad was moving. A rather large beetle was none too impressed about being covered in crappy ranch dressing and was wiping himself off on my tomatoes. Still haven't had a restaurant salad again...


14. I walked into a small country pub with a couple of friends, and everyone in the pub stopped talking and stared at us for a bit. It was just like a cliche movie scene. When we went to the bar to order a beer, one of us tried to make conversation - he said "so we're from [town], on our way to...". The woman behind the bar interrupted and said "I don't care where you're from."

So strange. So unnecessary. I think my chicken Kiev came out of a box.


15. I was at a Dim Sum restaurant - the kind where they push carts of food around and stamp your bill. I asked this guy if I could have one of the dishes on his cart and he refused. I couldn't tell what he was saying to me because he only spoke Cantonese, but we went back and forth for several minutes.

I later realized he was a bus boy collecting the empty dishes from other tables.


16. I stopped for lunch in a little hole in the wall noodle shop. It's one of those places where they'll put two different things into a paper box container, like Panda Express in the US. I ordered mine and queued to pay.

There was a woman ahead of me who was buying noodles to share among her and her friend's children. She paid for the food, then noticed that there were no plates. She asked the woman at the till for some extra plates. The worker rolled her eyes and said

'We don't have any plates.'

'Oh,' said the customer. 'May we have some extra boxes to eat out of, then, so we can share?'

Restaurant Employee #1 rolls her eyes at Restaurant Employee #2, who reluctantly nods. 'Yes,' says RE#1, 'but they cost 50p each.'

'Oh, lovely,' answers Customer, holding out her money to pay for them. 'We'll take seven.'

Here's the good part: RE#1 answers, 'No.'

Customer and I exchange baffled looks. 'But you just said they cost 50p, and I'm trying to pay for them,' she says amazingly calmly.

RE#1 again rolls her eyes at both RE#2 and the customer. 'We can't sell you seven. You can have this Styrofoam cup to eat out of, if you want.'

Customer is floored, understandably. 'Can't I just buy some boxes? My children need a surface to eat off of.'

'You can have a cup.'

At this point Customer's friend comes over, having seen the weirdness and the eye rolling. She takes a cup and (Continued)

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hands it to her four year old child, who looks confused.

'They won't let me buy boxes!' the customer incredulously tells her friend, who laughs at the absurdity of it. The restaurant employees all roll their eyes.

'Fine,' says the friend. 'Can we just buy TWO boxes, then?' The REs roll their eyes.

'I guess,' begrudgingly answers RE#2. Finally she sold them two small boxes for 1.

These two families, kids and all, then proceeded to dole out their noodles into their respective cups/boxes, with some children sharing because there wasn't enough.

I was blown away at the rudeness of the staff. I was pretty angry, so when it was my turn I asked to buy a box. I smiled while the REs rolled their eyes at me, but dutifully paid my 50p. After my purchase, I walked right over to the family and gave them my extra box.

Good noodles, but seriously messed up customer service. If you're running a restaurant, why in the hell would you not think about the possibility that one of your customers might need a plate?


17. I went to this one place that had great food that I really enjoyed. Then I watched an documentary on them, and I was shocked! In their vegetarian dishes (which I regularly ordered) they ground moldy bread and used it as cheap filler, along with rotten vegetables whose flavor they tried to cover with strong curries. Nope.

Amorette Dye

18. We decided to try out a large restaurant that had just been built in a very prime location next to major new NFL stadium. Seeing as how we were headed to a game, this was pretty ideal.

It had all the looks of a solid Mexican food bar/grill, including a giant iron sculpture of margarita glass outside. The only tip off we had for a bad experience was the Grand Opening sign. Our time there went something like this...

Our group of ~10 proceeded to wait for unnaturally long to be seated. Even after the hostess called our party, we waited. She apologized saying "sorry, its my first day"

Wait for a while for the waitress. Mixes up drink orders. She apologized saying "sorry, its my first day"

Order food. Food takes 1+ hours to come out. Food is wrong. She apologized again saying "sorry, its my first day"

Get new food. Food is blatantly cold. Complain for first time in my life at restaurant (I hate doing this). Cook comes out to apologize to group, "sorry, its my first day"

Get correct food. Nothing particularly memorable about it. Manager brings check to apologize about food/service/wait, "sorry, its my first day"

Note to self: Never go to a restaurant's grand opening. Its their first day.


19. Went to IHOP, ordered an omelette with toast and OJ.

The waiter brought the cook out to look at me because the cook wanted to know what woman could eat "all that food" alone. They stood there and stared at me for a minute while I chewed on my toast. I made up a story about being pregnant and being really hungry and they were like OHH OKAY.



20. The worst / best had to be a time when I went to one of my local Wendy's they had a sign at the drive through that said:

We are out of the following

  • Burgers
  • Chicken sandwiches
  • Chocolate Frosty
  • Frys
  • Sprite
  • Coke
  • Potatoes
  • Chili
  • Garden Salads
  • Large Cups
  • All condiments

I took a picture of the sign and posted it on my Facebook saying something like "Seriously Wendy's what DO you have" as a kind upset / joke. Then something creepy happened. I got an email from a Wendy's corporate person (without ever going to their website and complaining) they apologized, said they saw my post on Facebook and would like to make amends. They offered me 10 free meals and gave me the names of the store owners to the two other local Wendy chains in case I didn't want to return to the store in question.


21. Ordered a drink at a patio last wednesday.

We got a new waitress, we were her first table of the night. We ask her to bring us the special, and when it arrives we ask if it is any good. She replies, (Continued)

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"It would taste better with a tip".

We all shut up instantly, just dumbfounded by the audacity this waitress had. We didn't get served for another hour and a half, so we up and left. We gave her a tip, but still.


22. I'm from Canada, my city is near the border so people often drive across for shopping, dining, etc. Last summer a bunch of friends and I went to IHOP on our way home to get some breakfast. Our waiter was a decent enough guy, kind of over the top, but friendly. When the check came, he comes to our table and before he hands us our bills says, "Hey, so the table that just left was full of Canadians like you guys and they totally stiffed me on a tip. I hope you guys are planning on making up for that ..." Totally serious.


22. We were at Six Flags and the waitress forgot to get our drinks, then even though we were very patient and nice about it, after getting every detail of our order wrong she was too embarrassed to show up at our table again. We semi inherited a second waiter who wasn't much more attentive. We noticed another couple next to us was getting the same treatment - appetizers that came after their meal and cold.

At this point we were just waiting forever for the check so we could pay and get out (it was a theme park! we wanted to go ride things!) My boyfriend finally went to the front desk to pay and they said that we had to get our check from the waiter. In our search of the restaurant we were informed he had gone on break and the first waitress was nowhere to be seen. So we sat back down, now fuming and the couple started talking to us about the service. They convinced us to just leave - something I'd never done before or since. It had been almost three hours, a good part of our day wasted, so we did. We took two steps out of the building and the original waitress came running after us furious with the check. We paid and left "lol no" as the tip.


23. I was at a Chinese restaurant and there was a fly in my white rice. I called the waiter over and said "Excuse me, there's a fly in my rice". He proceeded to take off his glasses, hold the rice about three inches away from his face, and then scoop the fly out of the rice with the arm of his glasses for further examination. He then turned to me and said "That's not a fly. That's a bug." and set down my rice and walked away. I haven't been back since.


24. After sitting to eat, someone helping us came to the table and asked how old my child was. After noting the child is almost a year old. I'm asked when I'm having another. I say, "never." And I'm proceeded to be told "Haha, of course you'll have another, you're a woman. You can't help it." That day, I suppose I was supposed to learn that I'm a woman so I must have 2 kids? Since when does my vagina think for me?


25. The waitress took my wife's fish before she was done with it. She then asked her for a new piece, after which the waitress pulled it out of the trash bin and gave it to her. Lorelei (that's my wife) was furious, and told her, "Hey, that's gross..." To which the waitress replied, "Hey, I've waited on you guys before, and there's never been a problem."



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