Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Aug 1, 2011 10:47 AM

What would you do? "hair" in food

This weekend a friend was at a well respected Boston restaurant, when the manager stopped by
to check if everything was ok, one diner pointed out what appeared to be a hair pressed into a side dish of watermelon, the plate was then whisked away to the kitchen.

Moments later the manager returned with the same plate and explained that, the item was not a piece of hair, but a small piece of straw from the crate the watermelon was packed in. It appeared that all
the same food was on the plate, with a small indentation of where the hair/straw had been extracted from the watermelon with fingers, tongs or spoon. Nothing was discounted or comped.

What i probably would have done:
Left the watermelon on the side of the plate, posted here whining about it.

What i wish i would do:
Tell the manager that returning this plate is unacceptable, it should be fully replaced and comped

Even if it was "straw" seems to me it doesn't matter, picking it off was clearly unacceptable, at the very least replace the watermelon.

Don't know that i can recommend this place any longer if this is a typical management reaction.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. New plate, yes. Apology, yes. Comped, I don't think that would be necessary.

    1. Compared to where the food comes from in our food production system, a hair is a mere minor nusance. Your food is in so many more disgusting and vile situations than next to a hair. Americans have such a weird aversion to minor things, when they pretend that the food itself is filled with toxic chemicals and is way way worse than a hair.

      1. Well, it depends on what the hair looked like.

        Long and gold, being told it was a piece of straw...sounds reasonable. I would eat it and move on.

        Short, dark and curly, being told it was a piece of straw.....leave the watermelon on the plate and ask to be compensated. ;)

        1. I don't know -- I guess I just don't react that strongly to a single hair (whether it was a hair or straw) being in my food. Just a couple of weeks ago, that happened to me at a very popular and well-regarded NYC restaurant. I just pulled it out and resumed eating.

          A bunch of hairs (especially if it's super coarse -- you know what I mean) would be a completely different story. And, yes, it has happened to me before.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Miss Needle

            I feel the same way. One hair? Could be mine, my dining partner, my dog's (it gets Everywhere!), anyone's. No biggie! Hair of a certain type or multiple hairs? We've got an issue.

            In your case, you brought it up to the server and they took it back so I agree, a new plate should be brought out, but no comp needed.

          2. expecting anything to be comped, ever, is above and beyond.

            8 Replies
            1. re: thew

              As a server I would say that if one of my guests found hair in their food and I took it back to the kitchen, the plate would be immediately discarded and a new plate prepared, regardless of whether or not the cook or the management deemed it wasn't hair or who it belonged to. I work in a national chain and the standards for that type of issue are pretty high. If the issue was corrected and a new plate was presented to the customer there would be no need for a comp. If the same plate was returned and no apology offered, only excuses, I would leave immediately, refuse to pay and contact the local health department.

                  1. re: Ripple

                    which it seems not to have been. but my point was about expecting to get things comped

              1. re: thew

                Seriously, Thew? That's ridiculous. We were at a white table cloth restaurant about 6 months ago and dd found a DEAD BEETLE in her Caesar Salad. Had they not comped her salad (and dh's and mine, as well), I would have walked out without paying. I EXPECT to be comped in these types of situations, and TBH, if our total bill had not been $125+, I would have expected the whole meal to be comped.

                1. re: velochic

                  obviously you don't pay for inedible food - but that's not what comped means - comped would mean they bring her a new salad at no cost.

                  that you expect 3 free salads because there was a problem with one - to me that seems ridiculous

                  i never expect it. seriously

                  1. re: thew

                    Exactly. I expect a replacement if there is something wrong with the dish, but I do not expect to get a free meal out of it.

                  2. re: velochic

                    I don't think I've every had anything comped. Maybe a glass of wine for having to wait too long or a dessert if service was slow. I know once I was served an eggplant parm and there was a white twisty from a plastic bag sitting right on top. The waiter saw it, took the dish away, and brought me a different one--I could tell because the top was not browned like the other. He apologized and that was it. So I guess I never expect a comp either.