How WRONG do they have to get your order...
...or what kinds of things to they have to get wrong, for you to send it back?
I was having lunch in Little Saigon and ordered pho with rare beef and tendon (no mistake in ordering, I'm sure - the waiter even repeated it back to me in Vietnamese AND English). I got rare beef and tripe, which I don't really like at all. But I ate it anyway, thinking in the moment that the entire bowl was probably going to go in the trash. It's not about money because this resto's not hurting for business, but I guess I weighed the conservation to the minor dissatisfaction of eating tripe and opted to eat the tripe.
On the other hand, if I order a steak medium rare to rare and get something medium to well, that's almost certainly going back. Obviously, I find a well done steak a lot yuckier than tripe. :P
When do you just suck it up and eat it? When do you send it back?
'When do you send it back?'
- If it's undercooked/raw and could give me food posining.
- If it's supposed to be hot and is cold, or vice-versa.
- If it's oversalted and inedible.
- If it has 'artifacts' (hair, bugs, etc.) in it.
I send it back when it's not the thing that I ordered. If I ordered tendon and got tripe - it would go back. Cooking the steak is much more subjective. One person's medium rare is someone else's rare, for example.
The only time I've ever not tipped was one time when I ordered a chicken sandwich and asked them to hold the onions. The first time the waitress came back, she brought me a salad. I said no. The next time she came back, she brought me a hamburger. I said no. The next time she came back, she brought me a chicken sandwich with onions. I took the onions off, ate the sandwich, paid the bill, left no tip, and departed.
I was having Sunday brunch with a friend last weekend - my friend ordered a salad topped with grilled duck. The waiter brought her a green pea soup. My friend said, "Oh, but this is not what I ordered". The waiter hesitated then said to her, "Oh, sorry Ma'am, but ... would you like to have this instead anyway?"
For the record, my friend responded, "Are you out of your mind?"
In order for me to send it back it either has to be the completely wrong item, contain something that I asked to be omitted that will ruin the dish for me (eg yellow mustard - can't stand it) or have a significant error in cooking, such as undercooked chicken, way overcooked beef or enough salt for an ocean.
If there is a problem I usually just let it go, as it doesn't completely ruin the meal. However, my tolerance for problems decreases as the cost of a meal increases. I will be pretty forgiving of an error on a $12 entree, but not on a $50 entree.