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Have you ever had a meal so bad you wanted to walk out without paying?

I recently had a meal at a branch of a local chain Pancake House that was so horrible I actually wanted to walk out without paying.

I went to the weekend breakfast buffet (at the request of my friend, not my choice) and it was horrifying. The place was filthy, food all over the floor and buffet stations. I asked the waitress to please send someone to clean the syrup and goop on one buffet table but it was never done. I asked for a refill on coffee, it never came, I asked to speak to a manager and he/she never came as well. (and I waited for well over 15 minutes, standing there looking like a fool) I was so furious I left the exact amount for the bill on the table and left fuming.

Now I know this is not exactly a 4 star restaurant but still. The entire experience left me with a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended) Am I alone on this, but are you ever justified in refusing to pay a check? While I did pay this one I really wanted to walk out... out of sheer revulsion.

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  1. I have felt this way, but the truth is it's illegal. If you ordered something for which you're expected to pay, you have to pay for it. Best to take it up with corporate.

    Now what I have wondered about is how long one should wait for one's food with no explanation or attention from the server before you can just get up and walk out, assuming they've forgotten about you completely. Yes, you ordered something, but you never received it.

    1. for the cleanliness, and managerial issues you listed, no. I just make a mental note to never return.

      For poor service issues(disappearing waiter, no waiter assigned to you table, etc). I have either left before the tardy waiter finally shows up from thier smoke break, etc., or for the disappearing waiter, payed for the drinks, & food I had consumed and thats it. Again making a note and never returning.

      2 Replies
      1. re: swsidejim

        I only had an omelet from the station where they make them for you, I was disgusted at the filthy conditions and was afraid of getting il trying anything elsel. I had a cup of coffee, that was never refilled.
        But you re right, I will never eat at another Bickford's.

        1. re: gryphonskeeper

          I can understand your issues with this place. Terrible & unacceptable

      2. So why on earth did you stay there? I know you were with a friend, but if the place was filthy, why would you stay? I'd be too nauseated to even think of eating. If this is the mess you saw, think about what you couldn't see. But once you ordered and ate the food, you hd to pay for it. You didn't complain about the quality of the food, so it must have been edible (keeping in mind that the bar for edible is quite low in some places). You chose to tolerate the conditions. Why would your bad choice justify not paying?

        4 Replies
        1. re: Just Visiting

          That's exactly what I was thinking. I'd walk out of a place like that without sitting down, it'd never get to the point where I'd actually ordered or eaten anything and would need to pay anything.

          I've definitely had experiences where I felt like it wasn't worth a cent much less what I actually paid for it, so I suppose the answer to the question in your title is "yes."

          1. re: ccbweb

            Trust me, I had NO idea when we walked in and were seated what I was in for, it was not until I walked up to the buffet that I saw the horror. We were seated in a front room, not even the same room as the buffet station. That is why I opted to only have an omelet that I could watch being made, and a cup of coffee. If I was not with a dear friend I would have walked out in sheer and utter disgust.

            1. re: gryphonskeeper

              Yes, but you saw the condition of the buffet station and still ate something from it. Therefore, you have to pay. If you had checked out the buffet station and walked out before eating anything then you wouldn't have had to pay.

              1. re: hrhboo

                I did pay... however that is not the question. The question was did you ever not WANT to pay at a restaurant because the food was so lousy.

                Trust me I hated leaving every penny I did, the whole thing cost me $17+! for one lousy omelet and coffee that was not refilled. ($14 buffet and $2 coffee plus tax.)

        2. Considerin' as this is probably not the sort of place where the manager gives a hoot (if he ever did show up), he/she wouldn't be likely to "comp" your meal. That leaves you with one alternative to "I'm not paying for this" ... leave before you take any food. McDonald's still makes pretty good pancakes and you can get there fast.

          Normally it would take a while for me to get my upset up to that level, but then again for $17 I might get upset real fast. That's a lot.

          1. Yes

            See my post on Hero Certified Burger.

            DT