The good thing about the 21st Century? Options.
There are options everywhere. For food, there are options to the point that if you don't want to go somewhere, you're under no obligation.
But also in this capitalist 21st century, our business is valuable. And if we share the reasons why we don't eat at certain places, we may persuade a ton of people away from that place too.
Lesson Well LEarned
Chili's. I went a few years ago with my mom and made the horrible decision to get a side of chili lime rice. I ate maybe three bites because it didn't taste good. Those three bites didn't seem to get along well with my body AT ALL. Unfortunately, Chili's was the first stop before hitting the store to do our weekly grocery shopping. At the store, I had to make a run for the bathroom twice. After we finally checked out, my mom made a suggestion that maybe I should make another stop there before we drove home since it would take at least 20 minutes. I declined even though my stomach was turning, thinking I could make it home (and would rather use that toilet than a public one). BIG MISTAKE.
About five minutes into the drive home, I realized that I needed to get to a toilet or I would ruin my mom's car forever. After telling her this, she tells me there's nowhere to stop yet since we were in a residential area. I ask if we can stop at a family friend's house which is close by, and she agrees. She tells me to give them a call so they can unlock the door and save me a few seconds. I explain to her that if I move to grab my phone from my pocket, her car interior would be ruined. The five minute drive there feels like forever and I'm clenching my butt for dear life.
We finally get there and I bolt up the porch stairs to knock on their door. No answer. At this point, I'm desperate. I knock again and finally hear someone coming. Right as the door opens, my muscles give out. The friends stare as me as I spew liquid excrement all over their porch. I'm just standing there still making a mess everywhere and the husband grabs a hose to start spraying me and his porch down.
A few minutes later, my mom emerges from the car, crying laughing, with a roll of paper towels in hand like that's going to help now. Eventually, I'm able to make it to the friends bathroom (which I somehow managed to clog after pooping on their porch) and wash up. They ended up giving me some clothes to change into and I was able to get home and shower the poop off. Unfortunately, you can't shower off embarrassment and shame. So, I will never step foot in a Chili's again because I don't fancy pooping on a family friend's porch again.
Germy Germy Germy
Any self serve buffet. Kids are nasty and not all parents watch their kids. Saw a kid lick a serving spoon and put it back. Glad I caught it but imagine how often it isn't caught.
When Seafood Attacks
Seven or eight years ago, I was at a big medical trade show in Anaheim, CA and after a day of hanging out in the vendor booth, I decided to have dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp. About 4 or 5 hours after eating there, I came down with the nastiest case of food poisoning I have ever experienced. Alone in a hotel room after hours of throwing up, I called an ambulance, which I couldn't afford but was desperate for help. The doctor at the hospital thought shellfish fit the profile. For some reason can still eat shrimp, but never again at Bubba Gump.
Two Against Chili's
My Dad placed a family boycott on Chili's because they had terrible service once and refused our never used gift cards
About 15 or so years later my dad was forced into going to Chili's while on a business trip and put an end to the boycott. Then he spilled ketchup on his pants and announced the boycott was back on.
In my 22 years I think I've been to Chili's 3 times, and there is one down the road from me.
Golden Coral. We've got a family joke where if someone recommends a restaurant we wait until later in the conversation and ask if they like Golden Coral. If they say yes we never try the place they recommended
There is a local Mediterranean all-you-can-eat place that I have never eaten at, and refuse to try, but not for the reason you probably think. It was in a weirdly dingy, broken-down building that never has anybody parked out front and has almost never had anybody in it. This place is surrounded on all sides by significantly nicer restaurants and businesses, which just makes it stand out even more.
Here's the real kicker for why I don't go in: this place is near where I work so I have literally seen it every day. In the seven years I've known of its existence, almost every restaurant around it has folded and gone out of business at least once before coming back as something else. Yet this place has somehow survived despite having no obvious signs of doing business; I believe it's a money laundering front. My suspicions have doubled since last year when the building they were in got a suddenly an upgrade and renovated the building to be much nicer than every building around it; again, this is at a place where I think I have maybe seen a dozen people parked outside of, ever.
Not any in particular, but there was one case worthy of bringing up. Was on the road from the airport to our lodgings in Jacksonville area. Wife wanted to eat, so we saw a Denny's and stopped. I went into the bathroom to freshen up. While doing my business, I noticed the 2 stalls were occupied. No big deal, I finish up just as the one guy leaves. In the mirror I see him. With a cook's apron on. Didn't stop to wash his hands. I got out and immediately got my wife to leave with me.
My dad refuses to eat at Papa Murphy's because when I was in high school I applied there, had an interview, and was told I was hired and that they would contact me with starting info, then never contacted me.
Applebee's. My grandparents used to force our whole family to go there at ever family get together. It's just over priced tv dinners. Half the menu isn't even edible, a quesadilla burger makes no sense, you can't even hold it!
Tim Hortons. Every single time I went it was a letdown. The food quality has been declining for years and their coffee tastes like it's been pumped right out of the sewers.
Also, they treat their employees like absolute bunk and their franchise owners have been known to throw childish tantrums over the slightest wage increases.