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Funniest thing you seen in a restaurant?

Do you have any funny stories about what you've seen or has happened to you in a restaurant?
I'll start to get the ball rolling. Years ago along the trans Canada hwy in mid Saskatchewan we stopped at a little diner in a dusty farm town. The sign outside said 'Sunday Buffet'. The place was half full of farm families. Men with cowboy hats on. It looked like 'this was the place to take the 'folks' who had moved off the farm into 'town' out for the regular Sunday family meal.
The buffet was your usual 'smorgasbord' under glass with a dozen stainless tubs holding all manner of meat and potato based dishes. These were all sitting on a nice bed of broken up heads of ice berg lettuce heads 'for decoration'. We got in line and chose our items. I didn't see any salads on offer. After sitting down I called the waitress/cashier/server over and asked for a couple of 'side salads'. At first she looked perplexed. Then she smiled and went into the kitchen and came out with two large soup bowls. She went to the buffet and grabbed a few hand fulls of the decorative iceberg lettuce. She brought them to our table with a smile and left. I didn't have the nerve to ask for any dressing.
And one more briefly: We stopped at a restaurant in Cranbrook BC for lunch and parked in the parking lot. As we approached the restaurant door we saw two well used toilets, one on either side of the door. One was pink the other blue. We didn't go in but we got a good photo.

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  1. 1976. Visited my brother going to college in the small upstate NY town of Oneonta. After a long night of revelry we headed over to a place called Nicks Dinner at around 2 AM. I don't remember much about the evening but I remember quite vividly that the fork in my place setting wasn't fully cleaned and had some "food" stuck to it. I pointed this out to the waitress when she came to take our order expecting a replacement fork. Instead, she said, "oh,sorry" picked up the fork and preceded to scrape the crud off of it with her fingernail. When it appeared she had gotten it all, she simply placed it back in front of me and went back to work. 36 years later and I'm still dumbfounded.

    1. Watching 3 or more women with one check each trying to pay her share. "But you had wine and I only had coffee." "But I didn't eat dessert and Mary did." ...on and on LOL

      14 Replies
      1. re: Gail

        My sister started calling that behavior "Who had 'Fruit Cup'" years ago, to this day, we joke about it and also say that we don't want to play "Who had 'Fruit Cup.'"

        1. re: jacquelyncoffey

          >>> "Who had 'Fruit Cup.'"<<<

          Good one, jacquelyn!!

          1. re: Gail

            I'll tell her you like the saying, it cracks us up everytime.

          1. re: cosmogrrl

            Having been involved in one too many of those episodes years ago in college....the last straw, and I refuse to participate ever again, was when a relative told me I owed them all 25 cents(I had given them every cent I had) after they'd spent about an hour trying to figure it all out on paper and calculators.
            This was a family gathering.

            1. re: latindancer

              OMG! I love that cartoon. I missed that. I had a similar experience recently with a friend, won't happen again.

            2. re: cosmogrrl

              Douglas Adams had a joke about that too, the highest order of mathematics there is full of utterly unsolvable problems and irrational numbers:


              1. re: cosmogrrl

                i've never seen a table of just men engage in this behavior.

                1. re: alkapal

                  oh I have. "yeah I ordered 'X' but you had some of it"

                  thankfully separate checks are so easier now.

              2. re: Gail

                I recently saw three young guys sitting at the bar drinking beers and eating burgers on one bill. Then one guy realized he didn't have cash, so instead of the guys giving him the cash, they asked for separate checks. The bartender didn't say anything, but it annoyed me.

                1. re: jhopp217

                  Call me stupid... I don't get the problem here. You mean two should have just put their cash in and let the other guy pay the rest (i.e. his portion) on his card? And by not doing that they created a hassle for the bartender in terms of presenting and ringing 3 checks up? Just trying to understand the ish.

                  1. re: thegforceny

                    You said you didn't understand the point and then said the point. The bartender wrote out one check as desired by the customers. Then when the bill was already rung up, they asked for it to be separate checks. Not sure what is so confusing.

                    1. re: jhopp217

                      It's good to clarify. In your original post, you simply wrote 'Then one guy realized he didn't have cash, so instead of the guys giving him the cash, they asked for separate checks.' There was no statement about the bill being delivered first.

                      Not sure why this is the 'funniest thing' you have seen in a restaurant either, but to each their own.

                2. re: Gail

                  I used to work as an office assistant in the Physics Department of a university. We had a department lunch in a restaurant with about 25 department employees. At the end of the lunch, two of the physics professors set out to divide up the bill, calculating to the penny each person's charges and share of the tip. They didn't just do a 15% or 20% tip, but they worked out a two-tier tip formula with a 15% tip for individual items and 18% tip for shared appetizer platters. The non-physicists thought this was very funny, but the profs were totally oblivious to the humor.

                3. Maybe not THE funniest, but I'll never forget one visit to Tony Roma's (a restaurant specializing in ribs) as a kid with my family, back in the '80s. There was another family sitting nearby with two young boys, and one of them yelled to his brother "HEEEEEY JUSTIN, I'LL TRADE YOU SOME FOOD FOR YOUR PENCIL!"

                  For whatever reason, it struck all of us as hilarious, and 25 years later, we still quote that line to each other.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                    ha! Makes you wonder... did Justin not have any food? Why did the other need a pencil at dinner? and so on.... :)

                    1. re: kubasd

                      I don't know if it was the kind of restaurant that had disposable kids' menus with games and puzzles and coloring activities, or maybe he had a coloring book or a pad. But even as young kids, my brother and I loved to eat, and we would have happily traded any pencils we had for more ribs!

                  2. Watching a waif of a model trying to separate the salad dressing from the lettuce in her Caesar Salad prepared tableside.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      That makes me want to cry. Tableside Caesar is one of my favourite things ever.

                    2. Several years ago, we were dining at a steak place with three other couples. One of the women was quite drunk. She ordered French Onion Soup to have before her meal. When she started eating it, she proclaimed quite loudly "THIS SOUP HAS ONIONS IN IT!" and refused to eat it.

                      Whenever someone in our group order French Onion Soup, they now proclaim "THIS SOUP HAS ONIONS IN IT!"

                      5 Replies
                        1. re: alkapal

                          Yes, it was....bahahahahah. It was Hooch after partaking of a lot of hooch.

                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                            I read your earlier post about the soup, and just automatically figured it was Hooch. And how ARE the dear Mooch and Hooch, BTW? :-)

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              You know we have not seen them in months and it's been years since we've dined with them. And that is great :-)

                              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                All is right in the world of Janet and the Mr. and whoever else dines with them. :-)

                      1. Even after all these years, I still don't know if this is funny, horrifying or both -

                        Mr. CB and I were at our local steakhouse, which is a nicer place for the area. A former classmate of my husband's was sitting at the next table and there was a bit of back and forth chit chat when we sat down.

                        We finished our meal and this man leans over from his table, asks my husband "hey, are you going to eat that fat?" and before my husband can respond, spears a huge hunk of fat, shoves it in his mouth and starts chewing away.

                        1 Reply
                        1. some years ago i was out with friends and their kids. the kids had decided not to eat french fries durning lent (give up chocolate? - no way!) When the waitress came the kids were explicit about not getting fries. And the waitress was equally determined to give them the fries. "But it comes with it." "But it comes with it, no extra charge."

                          For months after that whenever a waiter or waitress would ask if we wanted fries with that we would burst into laughter and raise the chorus of "it comes with it" much to the confusion of whoever was serving us.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                            Hey, but were they "great fries?"


                          2. Just the other day I saw a sign for a new restaurant that just opened..."Pulp Kitchen". I can't even imagine going to a place with that name. What, do they specialize in pulp?

                            18 Replies
                            1. re: dulcie54

                              Now that one is a stumper... Orange Juice? Paper? Part of the spleen or tooth? noooo idea!

                              1. re: dulcie54

                                probably a reference to Pulp Fiction..

                                I remember in my first kitchen job, (i was in high school myself) sending an underclassmen to the restuarant across the street with a 5 gallon bucket, asking them for "Steam"... Well there was a window that we could all look out and see what was happening, and after watching that little dude start walking back cursing and kicking that bucket as hard as he could, I was dying. Needless to say the little guy was not too happy when he got back, but when we told him he was another victim of the "Steam Run" he felt a little bit better and couldnt wait for the next new guy to fall for it.

                                1. re: dulcie54

                                  Sounds vaguely like Pulp Fiction (the movie and/or literary subgenre), I guess?

                                  We have the Just Fork It Cafe here. Never been there, probably because of the name. I'm the furthest thing from a prude, but it just isn't descriptive enough to make me hungry (or interested).

                                  Although back in the college town where I used to live, there was Cluck U Chicken.

                                  1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                                    Reminds me of the restaurant Pho King :)

                                      1. re: gingershelley

                                        There's a bar in Taiwan called "Taiwan On".

                                        1. re: Michelly

                                          in dc we have the "thai tanic" restaurant.

                                          1. re: Vidute

                                            is Thai-Phoon still there? I used to work across the street at 'S' and 20th in what later became MTV's "Real World" house(s).

                                            1. re: hill food

                                              according to their website, they are. i haven't worked in dc for over a year, now, so can't give a first-hand account. ;)

                                    1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                                      When my son was young (four, maybe), we'd visit my snowbird parents in Yuma, AZ. Dad would take Mark out to breakfast at the *Chat and Chew,* a diner-type place. He taught him to love ham and cheese omelets, which he prefers to this day.

                                      1. re: pilotgirl210

                                        "squat and gobble" in georgia, just off i-95. i'd prefer "chat and chew" to that!

                                          1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                                            BBVL, now you are not originally from florida, are you?

                                        1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                                          We had a Cluck-U where I went to school as well (still a bunch in MD, PA, and NJ), they had the best wings I've ever eaten. I was very disappointed to discover they had closed when I went visited back a few years later.

                                          I can't say I was completely surprised though - they had a delivery service to the dorms but the order would be right maybe one out of every five times. Sometimes you didn't get everything you ordered, sometimes there was something extra, and sometimes an item or two would just be something completely different. I didn't care too much most of the time as it was all great, and it became sort of a game to see what would actually show up vs what was ordered.

                                        2. re: dulcie54

                                          Royale with cheese, Big Kahuna burger, blueberry pancakes, Douglas Sirk steak (bloody as hell) with a vanilla Coke, five dollar milkshake, diner coffee, gourmet coffee, muffin, bacon, pop tart, donuts, Fruit Brute cereal. Red Apples for sale at the bar.

                                          1. re: dulcie54

                                            There's a Vegan restaurant called Pulp Kitchen in Toronto. Used to be a sit down place, but the moved and are take out only. Lots of juices on the menu.

                                            1. re: Sooeygun

                                              i guess they weren't being ironic in ending it as a "sit down" place?

                                          2. Years ago our family of four was in Maine on a camping trip, along with the inlaws, in two cars. Ours had a canoe on the roof. My husband slowly........backed up in a space in front of the restaurant. We got out of the car and walked into the restaurant. Looked over and saw our canoe through the plate glass window about an inch from the glass, and two people sitting at the table on the other side of the glass with the biggest eyes I've ever seen. I'm glad we were all able to laugh about it.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: noodlepoodle

                                              I read this aloud to my husband and we both laughed and laughed! The look on the almost-creamed-by-a-canoe couple's faces must have been priceless!

                                            2. In a Denny's somewhere between Las Vegas and Phoenix. Halloween day, so the staff are in costume. Non-funny part (but added to the weirdness of the experience), costumed waitress comes dashing in the front door, several minutes later runs out crying.

                                              Then a 20-something woman comes in a joins a big table, apologizing for being late (they were already eating). Sits down and hikes her foot up onto the table to show and explain she's late because she gashed her leg while shaving. Mr. S had his back to the whole thing and couldn't figure out why I almost blew water out my nose.

                                              1. We went to a restaurant somewhere on Maui years ago. The waitress appeared with a bloody bandage around her calf. She explained that a barracuda had attacked her that afternoon when she was body surfing. "It just swam up and bit me". A few minutes later an entire cart of bused dishes headed into the kitchen fell over in front of the door. Later a dozen girls in grass skirts were doing 'the Tahitian War Dance' on a small stage. As they were swinging their 'weapons' around and swinging their hips to the deafening canned music the entire lighting system came crashing down in front of them. No one was injured. When the bloodied waitress came by to see if everything was OK I smiled and said " things seem to be going pretty smooth tonight". She looked at the top of my ear and said "Yeah, for once".

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. A few years ago four of us traveled on our own through South Africa. Exploring Knysna on foot and looking for a place to have Dinner, we stopped at an interesting looking Steak place. The sign out in front ( see pictures) did not deter us from stepping inside and ordering.
                                                  This was not exactly the neighborhood one wanted to walk after sundown...and we were not 100% sure the sign was not tongue in cheek.
                                                  Btw these steaks became the gold standard for all steaks for us, individually prepared and absolutely perfect from the first to the last bite.

                                                  1. The pizza place I went to a couple of years back and the guy in the booth across from me asking for a "sixteen inch sausage". Maybe you had to be there. :)

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. We were with another couple sitting on a long row of benches in a busy restaurant in Victoria. This meant that we were eating 'elbow to elbow' with strangers on either side of us. Two other couples beside us were, like us, sitting opposite each other. We were there for about three hours. The entire time the other two couples went through the full spectrum of emotions arguing about who would be sleeping with who that night and who was "being too possessive" and then there were tears all around then cuddles then hand shakes then kisses then laughing then back to the accusations of "you aren't being 'open' enough to new ideas". Worst of all they stunk to high heaven of 'Musk oil'! We would have moved but the place was packed and we had already started of meals.

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: Puffin3

                                                        Puffin, I can't stand to be sitting at a table elbow to elbow with strangers pretending to be deaf to what they're talking about, and their pretending I'm not there. Talk about no privacy.

                                                        1. re: Puffin3

                                                          I was in a similar siting situation, but opposite my better half, elbow-to-elbow next to a couple who had clearly just started dating. It was somewhat awkward because the lady carried most of the conversation while the gentleman constantly fiddled with his phone. Half way through, she reached across to interrupt his texting to caress both his shoulders and said with a purr, 'I love your shoulders. They are so masculine. You're so manly.' to which, he didn't respond and continued texting. I hope it worked out for them, but I admit, at the time, I was dying pretending not to hear them and also resisting to comment on my better half's shoulders.

                                                          1. re: raebmv

                                                            If you have troubles rubbing elbows with strangers, never visit a bier garten or Oktoberfest in Munich.

                                                            1. re: raebmv

                                                              being bad, i probably would've said, "yes, they ARE so manly, aren't they?!

                                                          2. Several years ago, my Mom and I went out to a local Chinese (Americanized) place for my birthday. It was really quiet in there as there weren't a lot of patrons (early lunch) and we are not the quiet types so we were trying to use proper decorum throughout. When we got our fortune cookies, we both smiled, pleased with what was on the little paper. I said mine was a really good one and she said oh, mine too! Then we exchanged them as we normally do so you could see what the other's fortune said.

                                                            We both had the same fortune. I don't even REMEMBER what it said at this point, but we just LOST it and started cracking up and couldn't stop. The few people in there and the servers were just staring, which just made it worse. We were doubled over crying with laughter and laughed til our stomach's hurt until we finally managed to get the check paid and leave, laughing the whole way. They must have thought we were crazy.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: rockandroller1

                                                              Heh, how about an empty fortune cookie? That happened, twice in a row! Mine had a fortune but my companion's did not. We were laughing about it and the waitress did bring another one, which was also empty. Then the next time I think she peeked through the packages to make sure there was obviously a slip of paper in there. ;-)

                                                              1. re: CrazyOne

                                                                A group of six of us went to our favorite Chinese place. My ex was drinking quite a bit that evening. She got up to use the ladies room at the end of the meal. We all took our fortunes and carefully slipped them into her fortune cookie.
                                                                She got back to the table joined the conversation, popped the cookie into her mouth and chewed and chewed and chewed. It was hilarious. I don't think she ever knew.
                                                                I hope she does not read this. I still live in fear 20 years later.

                                                            2. In a popular Chinese restaurant outside Pittsburgh many years ago, my husband and I were eating dinner. At a nearby table, a little boy (probably betwen 3 and 5 years old, definitely not a toddler) was eating Chinese food with a fork. He then got up, went over to his mom, and she breast fed him his beverage.
                                                              Note: I have absolutely no problem with public breastfeeding. But if your child is old enough to sit at a table and feed himself Chinese food, it might be time to consider weaning.

                                                              13 Replies
                                                              1. re: AmyH

                                                                Something similar and truly hilarious in the novel, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn.

                                                                1. re: RedTop

                                                                  Gosh -- been 50 (?) years since I read "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn". Thanks for the reminder.

                                                                  1. re: RedTop

                                                                    Really? I know I've read it, but it's been years. I guess it's time for a re-read! Thanks!

                                                                      1. re: Vidute

                                                                        Ding. Ding. Ding!

                                                                        You got that right.

                                                                        1. re: RedTop

                                                                          That was my favorite book as a tween/early teen. I still revisit it every few years.

                                                                    1. re: AmyH

                                                                      Since we're talking Chinese food... I walk into a takeout joint late one night. One guy behind the counter, one mopping the seating area, one cooking, and me. I give my order, it's rung up and I'm handed my receipt, number 49. Five minutes go by and I'm still the only customer in the place still standing at the counter. Food is ready and bagged up. The person behind the counter who just took my order (maybe two feet from me) looks past me towards the empty dining area and yells, "number 49, number 49" at the top of his lungs. I glance at my receipt and hold up my hand while saying I guess that's me.

                                                                      1. re: AmyH

                                                                        Saw the same thing a few years ago......

                                                                        1. re: AmyH

                                                                          I dated a woman a million years ago (OK, around 1979), a single mom with three kids. The youngest was five and still breast-feeding. When I challenged her on it she said it made him happy - and indeed, this kid was a non-stop tantrum waiting to happen and her breast was the only thing that shut him up.

                                                                          Needless to say we were not together for long.

                                                                          1. re: BobB

                                                                            Kinda makes you wonder where he is today, doesn't it?

                                                                            Also interesting that yours happened around 1979 and mine probably around 1984, back when public breastfeeding of little babies wasn't as accepted, much less kids old enough to be in school.

                                                                            1. re: AmyH

                                                                              I knew my son was ready to be potty trained when he'd walk up to me and hand me a diaper!!

                                                                          2. re: AmyH

                                                                            Disclaimer: I've never been a parent. However, it's my feeling that when they're old enough to discuss it, they're probably too old to nurse. Yes, I lived in Ecuador, where breast feeding is encouraged to delay another pregnancy and improve the health of the child, but they didn't usually go that long. I was at a Sweet Adelines competition where a woman had her two 3-5-yo or so children with her to nurse them, but it was in her hotel room.

                                                                            1. re: AmyH

                                                                              i'd definitely have a problem with that public breast-feeding.

                                                                            2. Just before arriving at the Detroit Metro airport, stopped at a chain restaurant, for a bite to eat. Ordered some kind of sandwich - cannot remember now. When waitress brought sandwich she was holding it down with her thumb. Guess it was really fresh and lively? When she placed it before me it had a big dent/impresson of her thumb. I pointed it out and requested a new sandwich. She thought it was odd that I would mind a little thumb print. I laugh about it to this day.

                                                                              1. I was seated in front of the big plate glass window at a restaurant in an older strip center in Florida.

                                                                                A nondescript looking fellow saunters by. He stops to purchase a newspaper from the machine by the restaurant door. His feet suddenly capture his attention and he views them intently. Takes a few steps, stares at his feet again.

                                                                                He then pulls a nail clipper from his pocket, bends from the waist and proceeds to remove each foot from his sandals and trim his nails. The icing on the cake was the exposed rear view the other side of the restaurant was treated to as his loose trousers exposed parts which were better left covered...

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: meatn3

                                                                                  Nasty! Reminds me of when I was a grad student at a prestigious east coast medical school. I walked into an elevator and there was a famous scientist clipping his toenails in the elevator.

                                                                                2. We went into a greek restaurant at Sidney for diner. The place was obviously run by a Chinese family. It was diner time but we were the only patrons. When we sat down some one cranked up the music full blast. I couldn't take it. I called the waitress over and said "do you mind turning down the music? I've go a bad headache (not)". The music was turned down a tiny bit. After no one came to at least 'water' us for ten minutes I said to my wife: "that's it we're leaving!". As we walked out the door some one turned off the music. To this day I still can't figure out what was happening in that restaurant.

                                                                                  1. Zurich, Switzerland---a department store restaurant (they're pretty nice there). Self-service from chef stations. Salad greens sold by weight. Customer, a huge man built like that guy who used to be advertised in comic books where they tried to enroll kids in body-building programs. He bought about a bushel of salad greens (light in weight so cheap) then when he got to his table he took out a few cans of tuna fish and a can opener and finished composing his salad.

                                                                                    1. I remember conversations overheard in restaurants.
                                                                                      A: So, tell me all about your trip to Egypt.
                                                                                      B: Listen. There's NOTHIN' in Egypt.

                                                                                      Or this one between two American women in Spain trying to read the menu:
                                                                                      A: What is Spaghetti Bolognese?
                                                                                      B: It has baloney in it. They probably use some kind of sausage.
                                                                                      A: Oh. How about Spaghetti Carbonara?
                                                                                      B: That means they cook it on a barbecue.
                                                                                      (I was hoping that the next query would be about Spaghetti a la Puttanesca.)

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Querencia

                                                                                          puttanesca... isn't that some kind of pasta they serve at golf courses?

                                                                                          1. A friend and I were eating at a popular chain steak house. I ordered my steak and baked potato as usual. After delivering our order I found that my potato was ice cold. The waiter, obvioiusly trying to please, asked how our meal was. I told him that the steak was great but the potato was so cold that the butter would not melt. In a very frustrated move, he reached into my plate with his naked hand and grabbed my potato! "I will have a hot one in just a moment" he almost screamed. I was so dumbfounded, I could not speak for several minutes. Then the laughter made us the center of attention of the dining room! Upside, the manager gave me a $50 gift card!

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: randyjl

                                                                                              i am almost losing my breath cracking up with that one!

                                                                                            2. I went to a Lebanese Restaurant with my then fiancé and two close friends. The place was so excited, their favorite Belly Dancer was performing. She was gorgeous, her dancing was graceful and mesmerizing. My dear (sarcastic no holds bar) friend Ginny, leaned across the table attempting to say something to my fiancé. The music was loud, dollars were raining down. He leans his ear towards her while watching the dancer and replies “what?” She says it louder “Does this..?? He says again, “WHAT?” Then she yells really loud as the music came to a sudden stop. “DOES THIS GIVE YOU A WOODY?” A hush came over the restaurant as they all were staring at her. Without hesitation even for a second, he turns to look at her sternly stated “NO”! Of course I immediately broke out laughing burying my face in my napkin unable to breathe for 15 mins. Ya can't make this stuff up.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. The Imperial Dynasty, operated in Hanford's China Alley (central San Joaquin Valley, CA) from 1883 - 2006, In it's hay day it was two restaurants, Chinese in one half, American food in the other. They closed the Chinese part sometime in the 1980s, iirc, but continued to be one of the more prestigious places to eat for the quality of food and the historical ambience.

                                                                                                We popped in with family and friends one evening and noticed a few dozen old dusty wines sitting out on a back counter. We were told the CA Supreme Court justices were all having dinner there that evening. As we were being seated I asked our waitress for the wine list, to which she turned toward the kitchen area and at the top of her lungs yelled WINE LEEST!

                                                                                                Shortly another Chinese lady, dressed in only what I can assume was her finest (due to the evenings special guests?), delivered the wine list and returned to the back. As soon as she was out of ear shot our waitress commented to our table, "Oh yeah, twenny year ago she Miss Hong Kong.... but look at her now!" It was all we could to keep from losing it and falling out of our chairs.

                                                                                                To this day when our group gets together we still ask for the WINE LEEST, and wonder whatever happened to the former Miss Hong Kong.

                                                                                                1. Not in a restaurant, but in a hospital. My mom was admitted for a minor procedure. While settling her in, I pick up the patient handbook, and turn to the menu section. It says there is an Asian menu available. We get v. excited! Mom starts looking forward to a better experience with hospital food. We ask the nurse for the Asian menu. She looks at us quizzically, and asks, "Don't you read English?" We're momentarily confused. THEN we realize what she's saying - the menu is available translated into "Asian"! What language IS that?? Given our city, we figured it must be Mandarin Chinese. We were sorely disappointed, but we had a good laugh!

                                                                                                  1. I got a chuckle as I walked past a fancy restaurant on Masaryk in Polanco D.F. where 4 attractive women were dining at a sidewalk table. All 4 were talking on their cellphones.

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                      I see this with growing frequency - we are fast becoming a society which can not experience the moment.

                                                                                                      This reminds me:

                                                                                                      Five or six years ago was traveling late on a Friday night. I stopped at a Steak n Shake for a snack and to use the facilities. The place was filled with teens.

                                                                                                      As I waited for my order I amused myself watching them, observing the clusters, the glances, the hair flips, the feigned disinterest. Suddenly I realized what was missing - the chatter! As I looked closer I saw that every one of them was texting, often sharing their texts with their friends, but very little was taking place verbally.


                                                                                                      1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                        I read futuristic story which had characters meeting in person to discuss something but deciding to "T" (text) rather than exert themselves verbally. They had also pretty much eliminated vowels from their texts. I can totally see it happening.

                                                                                                        1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                          i was being bad (yet another time) when i remarked through my open car window to the young couple each on their phones in the SUV next lane: "so …are you two talking to each other?"

                                                                                                      1. SO and I are sitting at a local brew-pub, reading the menu and deciding what to order. It's a lovely sunny summer afternoon, and we're sitting on the restaurant's riverside patio. Most tables are full. Two people sit down at a table next to us. They order. After about five minutes the woman screeches "EXCUSE ME! I"VE BEEN HERE FOR HALF AN HOUR! I'M HYPOGLYCEMIC...WHERE IS MY CEASAR SALAD????" The young man she was with (son, perhaps) looked as if he wanted the patio to open up and swallow him...

                                                                                                        1. I was volunteering at one of those burger stands run by the Lion's club at a home show. I was taking orders. This older man I knew vaguely just to say high approached me with what looked like his wife in tow. I said "is this your wife"? She said "oh no, we just bumped into each other a few minutes ago". She ordered then he right away said "I'll get this". She said rather icily "No I'll get it myself". Neither uttered another word to each other. Her order came and she left without saying anything else. Perhaps I shouldn't have asked but I did. I said "what was that about"? He explained that he had been just strolling around at the show when he bumped into the woman. He said to her "don't I know you"? She said "you ought to. We were engaged once".

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                                                                                                          1. My father took me as a young boy to McDonald's and we ordered our food. He got a milkshake that was so thick, he couldn't get it through the straw. He asked for a spoon and the girl behind the counter had a thick Brooklyn accent. She said "we don't have any, you want a fork." Only problem was fork sounded like another four letter word starting with F and ending with K. My dad, pretended to be embarrassed and replied "right here on the counter?" I was dying laughing.

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                                                                                                            1. I live about an hour outside NYC, and met my cousin and her family at Grand Central when they came in from Chicago for a visit. When I asked where they would like to go, my cousin's husband replied he wanted to eat somewhere "quintessential New York"- his pick? Planet Hollywood!!! Then he stiffed the waitress on the tip after pocketing the cash I gave him for my share- including a generous tip.

                                                                                                              1. My thanks to the many people who have gone above and beyond throughout the world who have made sure I knew what I was ordering.

                                                                                                                Ebisu Tokyo. 4 stool Sushi bar. It was a cold a rainy night. A gentleman walks in and I pour him a serving from my Suntory whisky. His bottle comes off the shelf in a label I have never seen before and he reciprocates. The chef pantomines the fish and draws them so I know what I am having. We end up playing baseball with him as the batter of the Tokyo Giants and I am the losing tiger team. I crawled to my girlfriend's apartment at dawn with him paying the bill, we exchanged business cards, and I find out I have spent the evening with the District Attorney. A beautiful mother-of-pearl turtle was glued to it.

                                                                                                                Vienna. The Hungarian that bawled like a calf and then pantomined milking a cow to tell me that the veal in the schnitzel was milk fed.

                                                                                                                The waiter in the Michelin starred restaurant that hopped like a bunny to tell me the special of the day.

                                                                                                                In Adana, Turkey, buying a loaf of the bread straight from the oven for a few cents, and then they stopped us from walking away. We were directed next door where they tore the bread in half and filled the pockets with olives, and then across the alley to put some yogurt on top. Speaking no Turkish, we did not haggle on the prices. Total cost for two was under 25 cents.

                                                                                                                On the ferry from Algeciras Spain to Ceuta, I strike up an acqaintance with an individual who has just graduated from university in Germany and is returning home. Get invited to the feast and am informed in German what kind of eyeballs I am eating. When his father does a very large rampant fist, I ask bock and he is so happy I got it. Yes, we are eating goat's eyes cooked in yogurt with some great spices.

                                                                                                                Speaking no Japanese and reading less, I came adept at spotting plates in the window and writing in Kangi what they were so I had some idea what I was ordering. Imagine my surprise when the waiter looked at my notebook and actually stifled a smile. He then took me over to the entrance, showed me an identacle sign, and pointed to the umbrella stand. I had ordered that my wet umbrella on a sunny day be deposited at the door. For lunch.

                                                                                                                As a 10 year old and wondering why the food is being served under hub caps is a whole other thread.

                                                                                                                1. I could go on and on about funny things in Chinese restaurants. We had one, here, with a big sign that read Come Joy -- I think it was supposed to say Home Joy but the sign company had made a mistake. Not knowing the hilarity it would cause, the owners decided to keep the sign rather than replacing it. Eventually these owners sold out and bought a larger restaurant they called the Fu Lin (pronounced Foolin') and their original restaurant became the Kakalot. The whole town laughed for weeks. In those days, about 5 years ago, an Internet search for the word Kakalot yeilded nothing in English so no one had any idea why a restaurant would make such a statement about its food.

                                                                                                                  One night, years ago, we worked late at the small newspaper my husband managed and then had a late supper in a nearby Chinese restaurant. The owner recognized us and insisted on talking about a new ad he wanted to put in the paper. At one point he turned and yelled at the cook, "Bling loola!" The cook said, "Waa?" and the owner should "Bling loola" several more times before the cook figured out what his boss meant and brougt him a ruler. I was very tired that night and went into hysterics of laughter. Somehow this broke the ice and we became good friends. It turned out he was born in Vancouver and had a degree from a prestigious university in Canada. I thought it was sad that he felt he needed to fake a "Chinese" accent. Years later, as an ESL teacher in China, I found out that Chinese-speaking people have no trouble pronouncing the letter "r".

                                                                                                                  One Christmas Eve that happened to fall on a Friday evening, we were traveling and stopped at a Chinese restaurant at around 9 p.m. for supper. It was the only restaurant still open and the place was empty instead of bustling as it would usually have been on a Friday evening. The owners rushed to our table with their eyes wide and asked, "What terrible thing has happened? Where have all the people gone?' It turned out they were newly arrived from Hong Kong and, having no idea it was Christmas, thought there had been some kind of disaster.

                                                                                                                  Another time, we were in yet another Chinese restaurant with a friend whose third wife had just walked out on him. The whole dinner was taken up with commiserating with him and we were, frankly, a bit sick of the topic by the time the fortune cookies arrived. Our friend broke open his cookie and read his fortune in a bitter tone, "It says 'Lucky in love."". We were still laughing about this incident on the 10th anniversary of his marriage to his fourth (and final) wife.

                                                                                                                  The last story occured in one of those huge buffet places with waitresses roaming around with pitchers of "bottomless" soft drinks. My husband and son (about 16 at that time) went in to enjoy a big meal. DH hadn't had his glass filled in quite awhile and said, unthinkingly (and quite loudly), "Where's that girl with the jugs?" Our son, now in his forties, still finds the memory hysterical, especially the look on his dad's face when he realized what he'd just said.

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                                                                                                                  1. re: chummy

                                                                                                                    This one didn't actually occur inside a Chinese restaurant, but I was attempting to order Chinese food for delivery at a theatre company I worked for. Now mind you their staff had very limited English, but we ordered from them enough that they knew the security code for backstage. I was having an extremely difficult time explaining this to what I guess was a new employee and then she goes, "We not theatre, we Chinese store!" and hung up.

                                                                                                                    I just stood there dumbfounded in the stage management office, then looked at my hysterically laughing coworker and said, "Let's just get some pizza for the crew tonight."

                                                                                                                  2. High end restaurant in Kensington area of Calgary, Canada at a business dinner with a group of potential new clients from an "almost" major credit card company in the US. There were around 15 of us, so I had arranged a special menu with a few course choices to assist the kitchen. One of the starters was a beef tartar with parmesean cracker... one of the executives from the client side, called the waitress over and quite loudly asked how the beef tartar would pass? The watiress blanched, choked slightly and then said she'd go ask the chef... about 20 seconds later there was a huge crash of pans/pots (something) in the open kitchen followed by painfully muffled laughter.

                                                                                                                    The exec didn't get an answer to his question but still had the beef tartar and seemed fine after dinner... I didn't ask how it turned out for him.

                                                                                                                    1. At the time, this was more gross than funny, but years later, it does make me laugh. I had just finished some mall shopping with my children, who were 2 and 4 at the time. We were very hungry, so we went to a chain restaurant with kids' menus for lunch. We ordered our food and were sitting quietly (the kids had crayons and coloring sheets) when all of a sudden, I saw our waitress come out of the kitchen, heavy tray in hand, then watched in horror as she leaned over a big trash can and spat into it.

                                                                                                                      I grabbed my son out of his high chair and pulled my daughter from her booster seat, threw some money on the table to cover our drinks, and hauled them out of there as fast as I could. When my daughter protested that she hadn't eaten yet, I told her that I had just remembered there was a better restaurant nearby! We ended up at a Chick-Fil-A.

                                                                                                                      1. I used to bartend in a really high end fine dining restaurant while in college. Once had a patron who had had a bit too much to drink start laughing hysterically at something his wife said which lead to his glass eye somehow popping out of its socket and rolling on to the floor. The laughing changed to anger when he began to tell his wife it was her fault for making him laugh, and he was being ugly about it. You see some wild things when you tend bar, no matter how high end the establishment ><

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                                                                                                                        1. re: twyst

                                                                                                                          This reminds me of a story my brother told me about someone he encountered in a bar years ago. (He played guitar in bands -- they often played in bars where he met many interesting characters.) This guy had a glass eye. When he was drinking with people he didn't know well, he would say he was going to the restroom, pop out his glass eye, deposit it in his beer, then say, "Keep an eye on that for me, would you?"

                                                                                                                        2. There is nothing funny about a large rat running out of a kitchen and under the table of a large party of surprised diners, who all raised their feet in unison, right? (Richmond Distr., San Francisco)

                                                                                                                          In rural Kern Co. we asked for more chips and a semi-Mexican place. The very young server came back with one of those industrial-sized plastic bags, maybe a 20-lb. bag of chips, and attempted to fill each individual (small) chip bowl. Some hit, a lot missed. : )

                                                                                                                          1. My DH and I were eating at a cheap Chinese buffet. The first trip to the buffet was fine, but at the second there were about a dozen cockroaches orbiting the plates. They were right there in plain view, but not a one employee or diner seemed to notice or care. The other exciting event of the evening was the restaurant's "floor show," which was an embarassing spectacle couple of teenage boys dancing with a big dragon puppet.

                                                                                                                            1. We were driving down to Florida about 15 or so years ago & had stopped at JR's just to stretch our legs. We went to the Denny's that was right next to their parking lot & boyfriend ordered the Split Pea Soup, but asked for croutons for his soup instead of crackers. The waitress looked at him & said "you can put croutons in split pea soup? I thought you could only put them on salads. I've never heard of that." She then put our order in & ran off to tell the other waitresses what she had just learned.

                                                                                                                              1. Sunday morning breakfast at Wolfies in Miami Beach: sitting elbow to elbow (tables pushed together) with two men. One was a movie producer who didn't say much. The other younger man was trying to get his 11year old sun a part in a movie, or TV, or anything. No pix of the kid, no nothing, just his Father talking about his tallented son. For 45 minutes. The producer ate a lot and said very little.

                                                                                                                                Camellia Grill in New Orleans. Local woman, finishes her dinner and goes into the ladies' room and comes out with a white plastic bag with (obviously) six rolls of toilet paper. Pays her bill and leaves. We asked our counter man what was going on. He said she's local, she always comes in when she's low on TP, she takes what she wants and we adjust her bill accordingly. It had been going on for decades.

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                                                                                                                                1. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                  Camelia gets four stars for customer service, above and beyond ... or actually below I guess. (sorry)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: PolarBear

                                                                                                                                    heh - "don't say nothing bad about Miss Jenkins"

                                                                                                                                    as a manger I'd tolerate it. life's too short. I'd just leave at most three or four spare rolls in the bathroom at any given time (it'd get her in more often for legitimate expenses)

                                                                                                                                2. I was with my brother once in some casual restaurant and he ordered the Dijon burger and to please "hold the mustard".

                                                                                                                                  1. Please don't take offense, this is a real story.....More bizarre than funny but here it is.... A street person enters a very exclusive French restaurant and asked to use the bathroom. She was told the bathrooms were only for patrons. A few moments later there was a knock on the dining room picture window that overlooked the garden. Everyone in the dining room stopped eating and looked out the window to the well lit garden. There in plain view under a spot light the street person dropped her drawers, did her business, both #1 & #2 , pulled up her pants, gave everyone the finger, laughed and walked away.

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                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                        Let me just say I was working and got a full account from those that were in the dining room and demanded a full refund.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                        If this story is true, it takes the prize here. I hope someone called the cops.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Kat

                                                                                                                                          Oh, they most certainly did!

                                                                                                                                      3. My parents took us kids to Pizza Hut for dinner. One of my brothers was a toddler and just getting the swing of potty training. As we're waiting for our pizza to arrive, he suddenly jumps up on the booth and with a look of complete panic yells to my father (in concert volume), "DA...PEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!" The whole restaurant lost it and Mom damn near hid under the table.

                                                                                                                                        We still laugh about that 35+ years later.

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                                                                                                                                        1. re: Christina D

                                                                                                                                          oh I bet he loved introducing serious dates/fiance(e) material to your family. :)

                                                                                                                                          "wasn't that cute when Tommy..."

                                                                                                                                        2. Eating a late lunch in a Goldon Colorado restaurant so only myself and one other gentleman as customers. The waitress was friendly and a bit chatty but I really didn't think much of it. Until she sits down and starts eating french fries off the other guy's plate....
                                                                                                                                          From that point, I guarded my food like a junkyard dog....
                                                                                                                                          And felt like a complete idiot when he pays his check, gives her a kiss and says, "See you at home..."
                                                                                                                                          Turns out it was her dad.

                                                                                                                                          1. Friend and I are walking around town aimlessly after dinner and decide to stop into the bar area of a well-known/tourist-y restaurant for an Irish coffee and dessert. Since it's a Saturday night the bar is very crowded but we snag a table next to a party of 30-something women and their male companion, all obviously on their 3rd or 4th drink of the night. It doesn't take long for us to realize that a.) they're a bachelorette party and b.) the guy doesn't know them, he's just trying to hook up.

                                                                                                                                            The guy, who has a thick townie accent, is telling a bridesmaid with a huge rock on her left hand and who is almost in his lap that he's in "commercial real estate." Friend and I speculate whether that means organized crime. The conversation gets more and more bizarre until my friend and I pretty much have given up talking to listen, culminating in what is my favorite overheard line of all time. Guy to bridesmaid (who *is* in his lap now): "I know your husband has dibs on you, but he's not here now, is he?"

                                                                                                                                            Shortly afterward my friend, who has occasional digestive issues, disappears to the restroom for what seems like 20 mins, leaving me to pull out my phone and beg "GET BACK HERE. I'm skeered!" I was pretty sure adultery and possibly a foursome was about to happen right in the banquette four feet away from me. To this day I can't say "I know your husband has dibs on you" out loud without breaking out into giggles for 5 minutes.

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                                                                                                                                            1. re: xdrea

                                                                                                                                              xdrea, you said "townie" - and I see you say you're on "the North Shore" - might this establishment be in the city of Boston? I know there are other areas of the country that use "the North Shore", such as Long Island, but the townies reference has me wondering. :-)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                Yup, Newbury street. :-) And Mr Commercial Real Estate had Irish Mob written all over him as far as I could tell.

                                                                                                                                            2. Chinese restaurant - handwritten sign on buffet that said 'no overheaping'. Only in America....

                                                                                                                                              1. It was a busy friday evening and all the tables at the golden corral were filled. As you can imagine, there was quite a bit of noise. My four-year-old nephew, upon returning with my father from a visit to the restroom, leaned across the table, and proceeded to "whisper" to his brother "Mikey, Poppops has a big penis!" Instantly, dead silence in the restaurant. Every eye turned to our table. My father was beet-red, but my nephew was oblivious and continued his musings wondering if he'd have a penis like Poppops when he grows up. We were finally able to get Matt to change the topic, but we decided it was time to leave. As we were walking out of the restaurant, quite a few heads turned to check out my father "below the belt".

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                                                                                                                                                1. re: Vidute

                                                                                                                                                  that is funny, but to one of the gender who was once 4YO, they are all (OK, most) improbably sized.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                    kinda like your first grade desk.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                      My father still turns red when we tease my nephew, now 16, about it.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Vidute

                                                                                                                                                      A least he didn't say something along the lines "it was so small I could barely see it"!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                          He did walk around with a bit of a strut for a while.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Vidute

                                                                                                                                                            When asked at preschool to describe his daddy, our 3 year old son said the same thing only he used the term 'fuzzy'. The day before the Father's Day celebration at school. I told my husband (who is temperamentally shy) to just walk in with his head held high and give 'em a wink. Then I told the teachers I'd give 25 bucks to the first one who called him fuzzy. I was out 25 bucks the next day.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Vidute

                                                                                                                                                              Strut? I bet it was more of a SWAGGER! And who can blame him? He probably HAD to walk that way, on account of his...um...blessings!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                Ok, now i've got steve tyler stuck in my brain!