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Bizarre restaurant behavior [moved from General Topics]

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A friend told me about a bizarre incident she witnessed at a restaurant.

It was Sunday brunch & the buffet line had just opened. She was near the front but noticed that after several minutes the line wasn’t moving. When she looked ahead to see what the holdup was she couldn’t believe what she saw. The first person in line would take a serving spoonful of a dish, bring it to her nose & take a good long sniff before putting it on her plate. She did this for many items on the line. I don’t know if there were items she put back if she didn’t like the smell but the visual on this is scenario is appalling.

I used to eat at buffets more often but stories like this have “curbed my appetite” for buffets.

Do you have a bizarre story to share?

  1. Not anything as gross as what your friend witnessed. I would have left the premises at that point. People are so clueless. I have witnessed a young girl opening jarred salad dressing in the grocer and sniffing, right in the aisle. This was years ago, and I think jars are generally sealed better than they used to be.

    My bizarre experience happened in a "buffet" line at Sweet Tomatoes a number of years ago. After loading his tray, the fellow ahead of me put his fork, knife and spoon in his shirt pocket, before fumbling around in his pockets, pretending to have lost his coupon. I saw through his stupid deception, as did the cashier, but why would anyone put silverware in one's shirt pocket right before sitting down to a meal? Weird, very weird.

    20 Replies
    1. re: sueatmo

      I sniff soap, deoderant and detergent at the store and melon and pineapple to check for ripeness but never prepared food.

      1. re: melpy

        How do you tell if the soap, deodorant, and detergent are ripe?

        1. re: Just Visiting

          I did some marketing research a few years ago when I was consulting for a beauty-products manufacturer...I don't remember what the exact number is, but it's something like 75 or 80% of us sniff shampoos and detergents before buying -- so smell is absolutely crucial in that industry.

          (as an avid unscented girl, I was pretty amazed at that number)

          1. re: sunshine842

            i'm an unscented girl too, but i do sniff deodorant to make sure the manufacturer's definition of unscented matches with mine.

            i'm with melpy above. i smell pineapple, sometimes melons and other fruits.

            1. re: Emme

              very big difference between smelling fruits to see if theyre ripe at the store and smelling dishes at a buffet line!! IMO you SHOULD smell fruits at the store

        2. re: melpy

          the only ripeness i check in conjunction with deoderant is myself.

        3. re: sueatmo

          I very often put the cutlery & napkin in my pants pocket (or shirt if I'm not wearing pants) in order to be able to hold my plate and serve myself. Not weird at all.

          ETA: Just reread your posts. OK, why anyone would do that AFTER they're done serving themselves..... nope, don't get it either. Perhaps for the 'fumbling around' performance.

          1. re: linguafood

            I probably wasn't clear. At Sweet Tomatoes you choose the ingredients for your salad, going down a "buffet" line, and then you get your cutlery. This guy put his cutlery in his shirt pocket, which I've never seen anyone do. I mean he had a tray, which would have held his cutlery fine. To me it was weird.

            1. re: linguafood

              tray or plate I too put my cutlery in my shirt/jacket pocket (no I'm not swiping it), but how would that change his tab? beats me. I just hate stuff rattling around.

              1. re: hill food

                It didn't change his tab. The only reason I noticed the cutlery in his shirt pocket is because he was trying to convince the check out person that he'd lost his coupon. He never had a coupon. It was a deception. I had plenty of time to note the cutlery in his pocket while he was patting his pockets, and looking around on the floor. If others stick their cutlery in their pockets, then I guess I'm wrong about it being weird. But I've never seen anyone else do this. And if Mr. Sueatmo did it, I'd be embarrassed.

                1. re: sueatmo

                  ahhh gotcha - I used to have to set up office buffets and never understood why some folks put the cutlery at the start (not in this situation I know) but I did get really ticky about it as maybe I don't need a knife until I see what I'm getting, hence my pocket habit. ok I kinda read the coupon thing as a chit situation, you know one from table B and two from table A and tallied accordingly. he was just lame. there are better ways to pull a scam. and over that I'd just honor the non-existent coupon with a caveat for next time.

                  1. re: hill food

                    Heck, in somewhat similar situations, I often forget to grab that napkin with the flatware, until I have returned to my table. I just excuse myself, retrieve that material, and then return. That has happened, whether the flatware was at the beginning, or the end "of the line." That is just me, I suppose.

                    Hunt

                  2. re: sueatmo

                    i wouldnt be surprised if he had lost a coupon... i get a sheet of sweet tomatoes coupons in the mail every week!

              2. re: sueatmo

                I don't quite understand the scenario you're describing but at buffets where they take to flatware when they clear the dirty plates I frequently put the flatware into my front shirtpocket as I am walking around the buffet lines deciding what to put on my plate. Or if it's a situation where you pick up the flatware yourself at the beginning of the line the flatware always goes into my pocket because it's easier to carry that way.

                1. re: sueatmo

                  Actually, I have dined with men who have put their silverware into their pockets, just to keep their hands free. So I don't think it's uncommon. It wouldn't surprise me at all.

                  1. re: jeanmarieok

                    OK. If you've got a tray of food, and you are about to pay for what you've loaded on your tray, and you put the cutlery you've chosen in you shirt pocket, I capitulate. Its normal. But really, I think its weird.

                  2. re: sueatmo

                    My DH is used to many receptions - you need to hold your plate and your glass of wine with one hand to be able to shake hands with other people or to eat with just a fork in the other hand while standing up and talking to other people. He's so used to that behaviour that when he is at a buffet, even if it's a sit down meal, he just sticks his (clean) silverware into his front jacket pocket to keep one hand free at all times. I've seen many of his colleagues, or government employees and diplomats do the same thing automatically.

                      1. re: sasicka

                        sasicka - that reminded me, the late Italian designer Joe Colombo designed a line of glassware for cocktail parties so that one hand could hold a glass and a small plate so the other was free (granted his idea was so the other was free for a cigarette, not greetings - he died of lung cancer at 41)

                        http://www.kitchencritic.co.uk/upload...

                    1. I can't say for sure if it was just bad salad bar behavior or how this guy rolled in general, because it was a first date @ Bad Food Heaven, The Sizzler. (Strike one..)

                      He proceeded onto the salad bar and composed a gorgeous salad. I mean really, really pretty. It was large, but he was selective with an eye to taste and presentation, and then he ladled a good pint of Thousand Island dressing. He proceeded back to the table where he:

                      Took a steak knife and fork and commenced to mince mince mince mince his salad into itty bitty, teeny tiny shreds. Not a leaf left unturned. He minced stuff that was already minced. I mean, that plate was mooshy. (Strike two)

                      And then he picked up the soup spoon....

                      28 Replies
                      1. re: mamachef

                        Heheheee. I think strike Two would have been the excess of 1000 Island, tho maybe he had gained back strike one with the pretty arrangement.

                        1. re: mamachef

                          Going OT here, but too many salad preps are just not cut well enough. They often feature half a head of lettuce.

                          Going back many years, I was conversing with a Michelin two-starred chef (Europe), and his comment resonated with me. "If a guest needs to cut his/her salad, then I have not done my job." In the US, I feel that I must cut the salad into bite-sized pieces, though in much of Europe, that is not the case.

                          Every time that I am served a half-head of lettuce, I think back.

                          Hunt

                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                            my Grandmother of French heritage maintained a salad ought always be able to be folded on the fork with just the one utensil. if additional cutting was required it was made wrong and if a guest (uhh her sons-in-law) decided to do anyway, well, she felt a little insulted.

                            I think there are exceptions, I like the retro wedge of iceberg and bleu. but I'd provide frickin' steak knives to make life easy.

                            1. re: hill food

                              you're *still* supposed to neatly fold your lettuce with a knife and fork.

                              Drives me batty, but I do it because when in Rome etc etc etc

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                "supposed to"? I have no choice or she'll haunt my dreams and a knife used at all with a torn (not cut, torn) salad was unspeakable

                              2. re: hill food

                                That was essentially what my Euro-host friend contended. "If a diner needs to cut my salad, then I have done things incorrectly."

                                In too many restaurants, at leas in the US, one must cut, and cut, on any salads. That is not a good thing.

                                Hunt

                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                  I appreciate (or rather am frustrated by) that. I still posit it's OK with a 'wedge' salad but then what Euro-zen would serve one?

                                  1. re: hill food

                                    I agree with both of you. I've had a wedge of iceberg with rich blue cheese dressing, and how else would you eat it? I used a knife and fork. But generally, restaurant salads are tossed together with all sorts of sizes of stuff. Often I think the sloppiness of the salads reflects how the chef really thinks about vegetables--no respect. Occasionally, I have had a salad of mixed greens that the preparer probably poured out of a bag directly onto a salad plate. Sometimes a resto does salads pretty well, though. And I expect much better and really high end places, at which I eat perhaps once a year.

                              3. re: Bill Hunt

                                "Going back many years, I was conversing with a Michelin two-starred chef (Europe), and his comment resonated with me. "If a guest needs to cut his/her salad, then I have not done my job." In the US, I feel that I must cut the salad into bite-sized pieces, though in much of Europe, that is not the case."

                                Then perhaps you should chose to dine in better restaurants while in the USA. I cannot recall the last time I had to chop up my own salad in the USA.

                                1. re: Fowler

                                  oh, I doubt you're going to find many people who dine in higher-tier restaurants than Bill and his bride, at least from what we can gather from his posts.

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    ya i was thinking that too....bill seems to be doing ok in the restaurant department

                                    1. re: cookmyassoff

                                      Then he must feel compelled to chop his salads while dining out for other reasons. :-)

                                        1. re: cookmyassoff

                                          Do you typically hack away at your salad while dining out?

                                          1. re: Fowler

                                            I don't know about anyone else but I have occasionally encountered a slice of cucumber that is gargantuan and must be cut in half.

                                            1. re: John E.

                                              i think that a lot of times, even in the "best" restaurants, salad doesnt get the attention that it deserves. i think a lot of chefs maybe just see salad as something to hold diners over until they get their entree. because, contrary to what fowler may think, i have been to some excellent restaurants, with amazing entrees, but the salad was more of an afterthought. i appreciate a good salad, cut properly :) with good, fresh, thoughtful ingredients. the freshly made, table side caesar seems to be disappearing.

                                              1. re: cookmyassoff

                                                I agree -- it's just filler more often than not, and that's too bad. A well-made salad can not only be a meal, but a wonderfully tasty and satisfying meal!

                                            2. re: Fowler

                                              why is the state of Bill's lettuce such a point of contention for you?

                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                  "why is the state of Bill's lettuce such a point of contention for you?"

                                                  It is not a point of contention. I just thought it rather odd considering he said, "Every time that I am served a half-head of lettuce, I think back."

                                                  I cannot recall the last time I was served a half-head of unchopped lettuce in a salad. How about you?

                                                  1. re: Fowler

                                                    u dont really get the subtleties of sarcasm do u?

                                                    1. re: Fowler

                                                      then you should count yourself fortunate to have found such a state of nirvana that you've never received a single piece of lettuce that was larger than you wanted to try to stuff into your mouth at one time.

                                                      The rest of us can only hope to attain such a level of bliss.

                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                        lololol....thats awesome....state of nirvana...total salad bliss : )

                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                          Please do not diss my bliss. :-)

                                                          You are quite funny, by the way. I always enjoy your posts, sunshine842.

                                                          1. re: Fowler

                                                            A wedge salad (iceberg lettuce) would usually require a knife to slice. If the iceberg's fresh from the field, the sweetness can be a joyful treat.

                                        2. This one involved my in-laws. They used to frequent a Sunday buffet after church on Sundays.

                                          My MIL would bring a number of plastic containers with her in a tote bag and after they were done with the meal, would go through the line one more time and fill up those containers to take home.

                                          This was before her dementia hit, but she always could play the "little old lady" card like no one else.

                                          36 Replies
                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                            Back in 1989, ex wife went to a local buffet, and was seated at a table next to one that had 2 women with large shopping bags. Ex observed the women bringing plate after plate of fried chicken wings to their table and dumping the wings into large plastic bags in the shopping bags.

                                            Ex went to the buffet to get wings and there were none. She asked the manager when more wings would be coming out and manager told her the restaurant had gone through the allotted amount for lunch and wouldn't make more until supper hours.

                                            Ex told the manager that he'd better go empty out those shopping bags of stolen wings, AND cook fresh for the other patrons.

                                            The manager actually had some B*LLS, he went to the women with the shopping bags, pulled out the bags of chicken wings, ripped them open and dumped the wings on the women. Manager told them they better start eating all the wings or he'd have them arrested.

                                            The women fled, the manager made fresh wings and refunded my ex's meal.

                                            Unfortunately, they closed the restaurant about six months later, couldn't keep up with the food walking out, lost too much money.

                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                You get the "Best Buffet Horror Story" Award. No joke

                                                1. re: bagelman01

                                                  Years ago, I used to go to a "Mongolian" barbecue place in LA where they had an all-you-can-eat option for $10 if you ate everything you took, but $20 if you had any left over. And the waitress would walk around eyeing the plates and remarking that we'd better finish everything.

                                                  I never saw anyone charged the higher amount, but I think it did stop people from loading up without knowing that they could eat it all or thinking they could take some home for another meal.

                                                  I thought it was hilarious, but some people were really offended. My thought was that if they didn't like the all-you-can-eat option they should merely order a la carte... or go elsewhere.

                                                  1. re: drongo

                                                    Interesting idea, but I think being charged double if I don't finish everything on my plate might make me want to take a serving spoonful of each dish, bring it to my nose & take a good long sniff before putting it on my plate.

                                                    Just saying....

                                                    1. re: svnirvana

                                                      That is hilarious! I love the reference. This topic has some great humor with the horrors!

                                                      1. re: svnirvana

                                                        Yeah... that's why I think they never charged extra you if you had a little on your plate that you didn't like. But the policy probably prevented people from piling up a plate without knowing that you were likely to eat it.

                                                        1. re: svnirvana

                                                          Lol :P

                                                          I've been to an all-you-can-eat hotpot place that had an "extra charge for leftovers" policy but it was only $5 or something, not double the price. And I never saw them enforce it.

                                                          At the buffets I've been to I don't know if they have such policies in place but I generally take a minuscule spoonful (or 1 single piece of things like dumplings or garlic ribs) of stuff that I've never had before to make sure if I like it or not before I take more. I've yet to find a food at a buffet that I disliked to the point that I'm unable to finish 1 bite. I do understand that other people are pickier though...

                                                        2. re: drongo

                                                          I used to go to a similar place that charged by the bowl, as opposed to by the ounce/pound from the vegetable bar, and you let you take leftovers home. People (myself included) had intricate methods for fitting as much food into a bowl as possible. The most common method was to line the bowl with vertical pieces of broccoli or zucchini to raise the height of the bowl by an inch or two, then start filling with densely packed layers of other vegetables. I'm sure it would look odd to an outside observer, but worked quite well since everyone was doing it.

                                                          1. re: mpjmph

                                                            Hah! The cafeteria at my employer used to have a salad bar charged by the bowl, and there were employees very skilled in the art of basket-weaving using celery and other long thin salad items to get huge salads into the smallest bowl.

                                                              1. re: Quine

                                                                Heheh. Very good. Some of what's in that video is more like bricklaying using salad pieces rather than basket-weaving.

                                                                Rather ghastly mixture -- peaches, salad dressing, peas, lettuce...

                                                                Some of those people are absolutely shameless about using their hands and cross-contaminating the serving spoons.

                                                          2. re: drongo

                                                            They solve that problem at the local Mongolian BBQ place here by allowing customers to fill only one bowl of stir fry stuff. Sauce is a second bowl. Interesting to note...it wasn't until an American restaurateur opened up a Mongolian BBQ that they had such food actually IN Mongolia. That whole thing about Mongolian warriors cooking food on their shields is complete B.S.

                                                          3. re: bagelman01

                                                            That is just bad form.

                                                            It is akin to attending an "All You Can Eat" event, and then"stealing" many, many servings.

                                                            Sorry to hear that such goes on, but am not surprised. One family member, who could have well afforded it, would steal tissue paper from the bathroom, and place it into her purse. Again, bad form.

                                                            Still, that is apparently how some were raised?

                                                            Hunt

                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                              Now I'm starting to feel guilty for swiping Fritos from the college cafeteria by having a plastic bag in our backpacks.

                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                A server told us a funny story about the customer -lone female- who ordered her 3 course early bird special from him and asked for it to all come at once (salad, entree and cake). She had a couple bites, then when he was distracted at other tables got busy. She called the server over after a few minutes and told him when she had gone to the bathroom everything was taken off the table by the busboys and her dinner was gone.

                                                                The server was horrified and immediately ordered her a new meal. But her neighboring table ratted her out and told them to look in her shopping bags. In there was the whole meal, plates, silverware, napkins and all.
                                                                It could be a South Fl legend but on the other hand it's likely based on truth!

                                                                1. re: smartie

                                                                  In South FL, I'd take it as the god's-honest.

                                                                  1. re: smartie

                                                                    Oh, bad, bad form.

                                                                    There is just no accounting for some folk's actions.

                                                                    At least I seldom have to deal with them.

                                                                    Hunt

                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                      Well yes, bad form, Dishonest is the work that comes to my mind. But I have to say that this story sounds like urban folklore to me. Perhaps someone with direct experience will correct my impression.

                                                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                                                        well the server told me it had happened where we were eating that night (Jewish deli) and my daughter used to work there as a server and she told us some hilarious stories, so it may well be true. The server knew me as his ex co-worker's mum so it didn't feel like a made up story.

                                                              2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                This was not at a restaurant, but earlier this year, we went to a crab feed. For those that have never heard of them, they're very common fundraisers in parts of Northern CA that usually feature salad, bread, some kind of pasta or starch, and all you can eat Dungeness crab, usually for $35-45 (2012 prices) per person. Tables were set family-style, and at our table, there were these two little old ladies who, after filling themselves with the offerings, continued to crack crab, accumulating a couple of mounds of crab on their plates that probably weighed a couple of pounds each. When all the crab was gone, they produced zippered baggies from their voluminous purses, and stuffed them full of the crab to take home.

                                                                What really frosted my cookies was that neither one of these women is exactly hurting for money. One is the wife of one of the most prominent businessmen in the community. The other is my daughter's orthodontist's mother. I don't think either one of them thought what they were doing amounted to theft from the church (the fundraiser's beneficiary).

                                                                1. re: ricepad

                                                                  Well, at least they'll be going to hell for stealing from the church :-D

                                                                  1. re: ricepad

                                                                    I have seen similar, at my country club's "Lobster Fest," where lined purses were used for lobster tails and claws.

                                                                    Going back, we hosted an event at our home. The caterer had 400 lobsters, and we only had 275 guests. Almost immediately, the lobsters were all gone, and many of the guests had not been served! We did not frisk the guests, as they were leaving, but I would guess that some had lobsters stuffed into their underwear.

                                                                    Hunt

                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                      "...some had lobsters stuffed into their underwear."

                                                                      No, they were just happy to see you.

                                                                      (cue rimshot)

                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                        Ya know, I'm tempted to say that if you're willing to smuggle a cooked lobster in your undies, just keep it...and if you've smuggled a LIVE lobster in your undies, you've earned the right to eat it!

                                                                        1. re: ricepad

                                                                          You make a great point - I certainly do NOT want it back on the platter, no matter how clean the undies!

                                                                          Stuff it in your shorts, and it is definitely yours - no questions asked.

                                                                          Hunt

                                                                    2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                      Recently at a Chinese buffet I watched a woman take about two dozen almond cookies and load them into a bag in her purse. I wondered if they were that good, but of course there weren't any left to try!

                                                                      1. re: AmyH

                                                                        Having been to many Chinese buffets (mostly when visiting the folks in Arizona) I can almost assure you those almond cookies were not worth the effort that lady made to steal them. Thankfully, due to heart conditions by the old folks down there we no longer go to said buffets.

                                                                        1. re: AmyH

                                                                          The most disgusting buffet behavior I ever saw with my own eyes; An older woman in her 60s-70s I would guess took a small teaspoon out of a small dish of coconut sauce that was there to spoon the sauce over some small tempura shrimp… she then proceeded to stick the entire spoon in her mouth, go mmm… put it back into the dish, grab another spoonful, pop it her mouth, then picked up the entire dish of sauce, poured it all over everything on her plate, rice, shrimp, etc. then put the freshly licked spoon back into the sauce, and went to the next item in line. I grabbed the dish, and called the man behind the counter over and told him what I witnessed. He then took the dish away, brought out a fresh one. As soon as I saw that woman head back to the buffet I immediately told the man behind the counter, he then intercepted her just as she was going for round 2 of the sauce. So gross, people that do that should be banned from buffets.

                                                                            1. re: cookmyassoff

                                                                              If you are ever in Fort Lauderdale, be very careful at the Makino Japanese Buffet, Be on the lookout for spoon lickers.

                                                                              1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                i dont get it, who the HELL thinks its ok to lick a spoon at a buffet? what in the world is wrong with people?

                                                                                1. re: cookmyassoff

                                                                                  The woman in gryphonskeeper's story might have been older than in her sixties, and she might have had dementia. Even if she didn't have full blown dementia, she could have had the severely impaired judgement that often precedes dementia. Her companions should have been monitoring her behavior. Its really too bad about stuff like this. It was right for GK to alert the restaurant staff, I think.

                                                                            2. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                              And here, I thought that the "Double-Dipping" Seinfeld episode was somewhat gross.

                                                                              Luckily, I have never observed such behavior, but maybe I was too far back in line... [Oh No!]

                                                                              Hunt

                                                                            3. re: AmyH

                                                                              Not in a buffet, though in a Chinese restaurant in New Orleans, we were the honored guests for several friends' weddings. These were "traditional" Chinese events, in a family member's very large and wonderful restaurant - 600 seated on three floors.

                                                                              We were seated at a 10-top, and one of the attendees was a wonderful, older family member. She took us (my wife and me) under her wing, as we were a tad lost in this very long, large and involved meal. We had also expressed our desire to "go beyond" the restaurant's normal Westernized fare (great, but now we had stuff, that we had never heard of, nor experienced).

                                                                              The first three, or so dishes, were rather "Westernized," and three couples at the table grabbed the platters, and emptied them onto their plates.

                                                                              <<of course there weren't any left to try!>>

                                                                              On about the fourth, this elderly family (family of the bride) member leaned over, and whispered to my wife, "let them take it all. You will not like this dish." They did take it all, and we sat, with still empty plates. They were not empty, because of the portions, as each platter was more than enough to feed our entire table.

                                                                              On the next dish, she again leaned over, and said, "you will like this dish." She proceeded to call the server in Chinese, and she, my wife and I, got first dibs. The other guests got a share, but not like what they had been dumping onto their plates.

                                                                              That scenario played out again, and again. If the dish was much more "traditional," she let them go at it first, but if not, she got it, and had us served. IIRC, we had 15 courses, prior to desserts.

                                                                              I would NEVER take all of a dish, unless a server was standing there, with a new bowl, for those behind me, or around my table. However, others could seem to care less.

                                                                              For the next two family weddings, we were seated with that same lady, and she continued to work with us. Bless her!

                                                                              Hunt

                                                                          1. My mom was going through the line at a salad bar and had loaded up her plate with a pretty tasty combination of salad ingredients. As she was nearing the end of the bar, she took a baby carrot from her plate and dunked it into a salad dressing crock. As she brought it to her mouth, the carrot hit an obstruction: the clear plexiglass sneeze guard! What was particularly funny was that after my mom left the initial salad dressing smear on the sneeze guard, she tried AGAIN, and left a second smear! My brother's then-GF, who was right behind Mom, nearly wet her pants laughing.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: ricepad

                                                                              I can just picture it - I don't know if I would have been able to compose myself for the rest of the day from laughing. Great image.

                                                                            2. I was working at a Mr. Gatti's Pizza back in the mid/late 80s and saw a little boy get a spoonful of chocolate pudding from the salad bar, wolf it down directly from the spoon, and place the spoon back in the pudding. I haven't eaten from a buffet since.

                                                                              16 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                Was there not a Seinfeld episode, involving "double-dipping?"

                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                  a renowned one (and I didn't even watch the show while it aired)

                                                                                2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                  When we were little, my brother got excited by a bowl of pastel mints at the hostess table at a restaurant and immediately dove his hand into the candy bowl. My father, slightly mortified, sternly hissed "Daniel! Use the spoon!" My brother turned around, shrugged his shoulders, dipped the spoon into the bowl and ladeled it directly into his mouth.

                                                                                  1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                    That's classic. But you gotta' admit, Daniel did what his father told him to ;)

                                                                                    1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                      Ah, the "mint bowl." I am old enough to recall those.

                                                                                      We had to use the spoon, and then ladle out, maybe five, into our hand, and be satisfied with those. Nothing more, or less, was allowed.

                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                        the powdery pillow shape ones or the swirly "creamy" ones?
                                                                                        doesn't matter - both speak of an era that i can picture as i read the spoon-mint story above - very funny

                                                                                        1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                          By my memory, they were the... wait for it... "pillow shaped" ones.

                                                                                          Some years later, those were often replaced by the mint + chocolate ones, in foil. Cannot recall the name now, but they had two versions. Both were rectangles, and one was mint on top & bottom, with chocolate in the middle, while more often, they were chocolate top & bottom, with the mint in the middle.

                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                            1. re: kubasd

                                                                                              Those are the ones...Andes.

                                                                                              1. re: kubasd

                                                                                                Yes! At my age, memories seem to blur.

                                                                                                There were two versions: on with two chocolate and one mint, and then two mint, and one chocolate.

                                                                                                Thank you,

                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                            2. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                              Ours were the pillow ones as well. I miss those mints!

                                                                                              1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                                ya werent those pastel pillow shaped mints called butter mints?

                                                                                              2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                There is a fish house near me that still has a bowl of these on a table as you exit. I can never resist:-)

                                                                                              3. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                ahhh the pastel butter mints... mmmm. i used to watch my grandfather pocket nearly the whole bowl into his pocket with one grab of the fist. This is, of course, the man who made a 4 hour 8-9 course meal out of a trip to the Souplantation (the salad course, the bread course, the baked potato course, the pizza course, the muffin course, the fruit course, the soft-serve course, the dessert course, and the after dinner mint course he deftly pocketed for later...)

                                                                                                1. re: Emme

                                                                                                  hahaha the muffin course...

                                                                                              4. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                uh, hello parents? control ur kid. geez.

                                                                                              5. This story comes from a friend and is about his grandmother.

                                                                                                Apparently, she used to go to buffets, placing food in containers that she hid in a bag. She was sneaky, though.

                                                                                                At the end of the meal, having not been caught, she would place a roll at the top of her purse (which was separate from the bag she had the rest of the food in) and leave her purse open. That way, any suspicious waitstaff would spy the roll and inform her that she cannot take food. If/when this happened, she would apologise profusely and hand the 'observant' waitstaff the roll. There were no other food items in her purse under the roll and so the waitstaff would then let her go (feeling very pleased at their vigilance, I'm sure) and she would leave happily carting her bag o' food with her.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: captain_vegetable

                                                                                                    I am not sure why she did not just whip out her Model 1911 Colt, tell the staff to "hit the floor," and then scoop all of the food into a wheeled suitcase, for her later consumption?

                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                  2. My husband and I went out for breakfast at IHOP (he loves that place) one Saturday morning and were seated at a table next to a couple who had brought their own entertainment. They had a regular-sized laptop opened up and playing YouTube music videos at full-blast. Whenever a song would end, the man would find another one to watch and listen to. We found a manager and asked to move to a different table, and the couple continued to play their music videos until they left. Yes, it was at an IHOP, but still...

                                                                                                    17 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: kyoules

                                                                                                      A very long time ago, I was working in a restaurant where a couple brought their own TV (!) plugged it in and watched Gilligan's Island while they ate their meals

                                                                                                      1. re: ctfoodguy

                                                                                                        Wow, that's hilarious! And I thought a laptop was bad! I only hope that couple now has DVR... :)

                                                                                                        1. re: ctfoodguy

                                                                                                          I woulda got a cravin' for a coconut cream pie.

                                                                                                          1. re: ctfoodguy

                                                                                                            Was that a 50" rear-projection TV?

                                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                                            1. re: ctfoodguy

                                                                                                              A couple of years ago, at a high end restaurant, people at the next table plugged in their photo printer in the outlet next to my table. By our request, we were moved to a table not near the printer and not in the glare of the constant camera flashes.

                                                                                                              1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                                                                some people are only alive because it's illegal to kill them.

                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                  That is the funniest thing I've read in a long time...can I make it my new mantra?

                                                                                                                    1. re: tidbitt

                                                                                                                      Help yourself -- I saw it posted on someone's office bulletin board years and years ago!

                                                                                                              2. re: kyoules

                                                                                                                I've seen that at lunchtime at a well-regarded Szechuan restaurant in Berkeley/Albany. The guy just set up his Ipod speakers and broadcast his music.

                                                                                                                1. re: chocolatetartguy

                                                                                                                  Some people just need killin', and that's all there is to it.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                    Ah, another use for a Model 1911 Colt?

                                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                                2. re: kyoules

                                                                                                                  Going back to he film, "Honky Tonk Freeway," there is a line, "International House of Pancakes is the only constant in my life." What you describe, might change that reference?

                                                                                                                  OTOH, if all patrons were out of eyesight, to be out of earshot, maybe they could not see the patron filling an entire suitcase with "all you can eat pancakes?"

                                                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                    I have never seen Honky Tonk Freeway, but clearly the character who said the line hasn't been to our IHOP yet. ;) Maybe you're right, and it was a clever strategy for smuggling food. Don't let the word get out. I can only imagine the little old ladies blaring music over iPods or laptops at every buffet in the country.

                                                                                                                    1. re: kyoules

                                                                                                                      Actually, it was Beverly D'Angleo (cannot recall the character's name, after all these decades), and I am not sure if she was referring to the patrons, or to her personal (character's) experiences.

                                                                                                                      I assumed that she was talking about her disjointed life, and how IHOP was the "only constant in [her] life."

                                                                                                                      For me, I have other "constants," and IHOP is not one of them.

                                                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                                                    2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                      Thanks for the flashback- I lived in the town- Mt. Dora, FL- that was painted pink for the movie!

                                                                                                                  2. on our "beloved" BC Ferries there are cafeterias (on some ships) and most of the time, obedient patrons pay big bucks for whitespot burgers etc. But there are also soft-frozen yogurt machines - i can't tell you HOW MANY TIMES (does the chief steward not see this?) i have seen customers either
                                                                                                                    1. dispensing their yogurt from the self-serve machine and then using their finger to wipe the residue from the dispenser nozzle
                                                                                                                    2. filling their dish as far as possible, licking it off in the line-up and then pressing it up against the dispenser nozzle for more (ie a refill)

                                                                                                                    i don't so much care that people are trying to get their money's worth - in their opinion - but the health implications that none of the catering staff seem to care about.

                                                                                                                    bc ferries isn't exactly chow-ish - but it is bizarre food service behavior

                                                                                                                    and all the stories about funny old people (above) - i have been known to ask for doggy bag --- doesn't that mean i'm old (i cringe when i do it but my doggy really does like it!)

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                                                      Kind of along this same line, I was in line for the soft serve recently and noticed that the woman ahead of me in line was carefully licking her ice cream bowl clean from her first pass through the line. I decided perhaps I didn't really need soft serve after all.

                                                                                                                    2. A liquor store in Munich, W.Germany that advertised they had booze from all over the world. This very well dressed American female entered and asked for Southern Comfort. She was offended at the clerk's accent, and then was real mad when it turned out they didn't have any. I watched in astonishment as she berated the clerk and screamed how she had been without her favorite booze for 2 weeks. As things were getting to the bottle smashing stage, polizei arrived and she left in handcuffs.

                                                                                                                      And how do you define ugly tourist? Some people are not meant to travel outside of the house.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                                                        I have been in the Business Class cabin with her, or at least similar, and it is not good, especially when flying from SFO to LHR, on a 13 hour flight.

                                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                                      2. When my husband's parents were visiting us in DC from their home in Los Angeles, we took them out to dinner at what was then an elegant restaurant. They asked if we could also include "Larissa," an old friend of the family. So we did.

                                                                                                                        Larissa carried a large tote bag, and when we were seated in the dimly-lit restaurant, she dug out a miner's helmet, complete with built-in headlight. This would allow her to see if there were cockroaches in the food, she said, insisting that restaurants turned down the lights to hide such things.

                                                                                                                        Needing reinforcement, my husband and I ordered a bottle of wine (his parents didn't drink) and offered a glass to Larissa, who had no such qualms. She took one sip and started calling for the waiter, insisting he bring sugar, immediately. He did, and she dumped I don't know how much of the stuff in her wine before she pronounced it to be sweet enough to drink.

                                                                                                                        We left a huge tip, but my husband and I never did go back to the place.

                                                                                                                        22 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: bitchincook

                                                                                                                          oh god - as a former DC resident I HAVE to know which one (your comment is no dis on the place)

                                                                                                                          1. re: bitchincook

                                                                                                                            This is the most awesome thing I've read today.

                                                                                                                            Did she leave the helmet on all night? Or just to sweep the joint for bugs?

                                                                                                                            1. re: bitchincook

                                                                                                                              I always USED to dread taking my MIL out to dinner. We have to pick restaurants very carefully but now that I've read about the miners helmet I feel much better. I guess things could be worse for me. Thank you so much for that great story.

                                                                                                                              1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                The woman must really be paranoid and bizarre in other ways too. Why the helmet? I wonder why a simple flashlight would not have sufficed.

                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                  keeps your hands free...

                                                                                                                                  and it's giving me ideas, esp for dimly lit places that print the menu in 8 pt fonts

                                                                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                    Tiny little flashlights work great in dark restaurants. The helmet is not needed and nobody really will even notice the small amount of light behind the menu.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                      In December, I saw a pair of reading glasses at CVS that had a tiny LED light mounted right into the temple.

                                                                                                                                      Looked like a blimming brilliant idea.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                        I HAVE seen those reading glasses (and my aversion to CVS needs to be addressed elsewhere).

                                                                                                                                        but they're not quite the fashion statement of a miner helmet, perhaps more wieldy than a nice 4 inch or 10 cm (forgive me I like metric in theory, just don't really know it) - ish Maglite.

                                                                                                                                        and I really DO like the idea of when (if?) I gain a certain age being able to wear whatever the hell pleases me as long as it 's legal and somewhat respectful. (yeah no hip waders to Bat Mitzvah or Tennis gear to a wedding - I got that)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                          eh, I figure if you can buy them at CVS, somebody else carries them, too.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                            certainly beats wandering around to find good lighting and the hostess worrying that you're lost or deranged (yeah I'm talking to you Zaytinya, love the food but hate the menu)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                              Well, on Sunday night, I chose the table, and the chair, with the best lighting, and our hostess had no problems. Since I had to pour over a 150 page wine list, I thought that the extra light would benefit me more, or I would have given the "bright spot" to my wife, even though her eyes are much younger, than mine are.

                                                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                                                            2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                              you can buy small head lamps w elastic straps at camping/hunting/sports mart type places, and some hardware warehouses.

                                                                                                                                              they are very very very handy for late-night/all night bbqing and outdoor pit tending, as you often need to be able to direct a bright light in the darkness, while having both hands free. and there is a good chance that your non-food oriented neighbors will see multiple people running around your yard wearing headlights and think you're a barmy lot.

                                                                                                                                            3. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                              There are other options as well. You can either buy an LED light that clips onto the brim of a cap, an LED cap with the lights built into the brim, or as someone else already posted, an LED light that straps onto your forehead.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                I agree. A miner's hard hat, with an antique carbide lantern on the front IS a thing of beauty... unless the flame ignites the menu, then all bets are off.

                                                                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                  Then you become the floor show!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                    or a bit part in a Marx Brothers farce (which one was that? Go West?)

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                      I probably have, but then I CAN read the wine list, even the ones with the thin "handwriting" fonts.

                                                                                                                                                      Probably fodder for another thread, but why do people do menus and wine lists in thin, script fonts? Even youngsters cannot read those in normal "restaurant lighting."

                                                                                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                                                                                2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                  I have these glasses. They are WONDERFUL. The LEDS are bright enough that I could probably lead miners out of a collapsed tunnel (sometimes I only light one temple). I have no problem reading menus anymore (the Duke professes deep shame and embarrassment but never seems to mind when I light up his menu). Plus now we can lazily play cards in dark, dank, uncrowded bars on a rainy afternoon.

                                                                                                                                                  They do require a sense of humor, an appreciation of the absurd, and high self-esteem. :)

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                                                                                                    "we can lazily play cards in dark, dank, uncrowded bars on a rainy afternoon."

                                                                                                                                                    god I miss that, there was one that also had really good sushi around 5. cards, pool, beer, maki = Sunday heaven

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                      For me, in my callow youth, it was pinball machines, but obviously similar in many respects.

                                                                                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                                                                          2. re: bitchincook

                                                                                                                                            i was listening to something with christopher kimball today, and he recounted a story of going to dinner with Julia Child at a restaurant in Boston. it was awfully dark, and she asked that they turn up the lights a bit. no one did. their food came, and Julia pulled out a massive utility magnum style flashlight, and "lit up the corner of the restaurant -- every table around them could see what they were eating."

                                                                                                                                            made me think of this thread.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: bitchincook

                                                                                                                                              Wow. That is excellent. In the wrong kind of way.

                                                                                                                                            2. I have two fairly bizarre incidents (which I may have already shared on other threads).

                                                                                                                                              The first was last spring. I had taken my mother to the Philadelphia Flower Show and we went to a fairly upscale restaurant near the Convention Center. As we were eating, a table of four women were seated next to us, but the tableware from the one lady was removed (and this woman had a McDonald's soda cup). Three women ordered wine and appetizers. When these were served, the fourth woman discreetly started pulling McDonalds burgers (or 1/4 pounders or Big Macs or whatever) out of a bag. And FWIW, no restaurant in the vicinity of the Convention Center in Philly is hurting for business during Flower Show week.

                                                                                                                                              The second was just a month or so ago at a casual, mid-price place in the Philly suburbs. I am sitting in a booth and the woman behind me starts remarking, LOUDLY, that her meal is too spicy. The server goes to her table and asks her if she would like something else instead and she picks something else. As the server goes to remove the offending spicy dish, the woman asks that the server just leave it there. Server, to her credit, picks up the dish and returns it to the kitchen. Then, the woman loudly explains to her dining partner that she does that every time she dines out--she likes to get two entrees for the price of one to "make eating out more economical." Words just failed those at our table.

                                                                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                << hen, the woman loudly explains to her dining partner that she does that every time she dines out--she likes to get two entrees for the price of one to "make eating out more economical.">> Probably all too true.

                                                                                                                                                Many might ask "Why are the mains so expensive?" and the answer is "So that many can have multiple mains, for the price of one... "

                                                                                                                                                Too many feel too entitled, and then, all must pay for them.

                                                                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                  sometimes i really cant stand my fellow man. or in the case of that story, my fellow woman. no shame, just no shame. what kind of stones does it take to actually do that in a restaurant? come up with a scam in order to get free food? wow.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cookmyassoff

                                                                                                                                                    Yes, and though I have not (fortunately) had those same experiences, I feel that it is in no way a "gender thing." There might be something "generational" going on, but as I am very old, I am not so sure about that. As a bard once told me, "there are some people, who are ill-bred, and some, who are not."

                                                                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cookmyassoff

                                                                                                                                                      "come up with a scam in order to get free food? wow."

                                                                                                                                                      Scamming a restaurant for free food is nothing new. I've worked in kitchens for a few years now and if I added up every steak that people tried to get comped because it wasn't cooked to their liking (which they realized only AFTER eating everything but the fat and gristle) then I could reassemble an entire cow.

                                                                                                                                                      Not to mention the "I told you that I'm allergic to garlic, parsley, lemon juice and black pepper. I found a speck in this dish..oh I'll still eat it but I want it comped!" types.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: d8200

                                                                                                                                                        yea well thats lame. and to me, its basically stealing. its one thing to send a plate back after a couple bites, but to basically eat the whole thing, and then declare that u didnt like it? stealing.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cookmyassoff

                                                                                                                                                          Exactly. But since restaurants are in the customer service business you have to do what you can to keep them happy. Comping a $19.95 meal might be in an owner's best interest so he can dissuade the scamming patron from creating a scene in the restaurant or telling 50 friends how poorly he was treated. In the restaurant biz you have to pick your battles. The sad thing is that the end result is a jaded staff and higher prices for the rest of the customers.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: d8200

                                                                                                                                                            yea i hear ya. just some people really have no shame. like, if u didnt like the meal, then why did u eat the whole friggin thing before u sent it back? but i get ur point.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cookmyassoff

                                                                                                                                                              some people *don't* have any shame, they just want something for "free" (everyone else winds up paying the price). my favorite move was the folks who ordered sandwiches, ate the meat and fillings and hollowed out and ate the inside of the artisan rolls, replaced the top bun on the empty bottoms, ate half of the vegetables, and returned their plates for a full refund, saying "worst sandwich ever." i'm sure they pulled the same stunt all over town and got all their meals for free during their trip :)

                                                                                                                                                              it isn't really much different than grabbing someone's purse or laptop off of a chair or out of a car, and going back to your friends, saying: "look at this cool free stuff-- i should get to have it because the person who had it/worked for it is stupid/is a sucker."

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                i agree. to me its just point blank stealing. if u dont like something, fine, send it back, but to wolf down 99 percent of the food and THEN send it back as if it was unacceptable? theft. ur a friggin thief.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: cookmyassoff

                                                                                                                                                                Those same people, have no pride, or class. Such folk will always exist, and may hold up their "trophies," but that speaks volumes about them. They are not people, that I want to spend any time with.

                                                                                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                                                                                              3. re: d8200

                                                                                                                                                                some people, unfortunately, dont seem to have what i call an "embarrassment level" they just dont have one.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: d8200

                                                                                                                                                                  Yes. It is an unfortunate consequence of our society, and with the great expanse of the Internet, and "social media," can be used to leverage in favor of the "scamming" patron.

                                                                                                                                                                  In my years (and there are very many), I have never once requested a comp'ed dish, though have received several. When I complain, it is with good reason, and done quietly, to notify the server of an issue. It has never been to get extra food, or even a reduction in the overall price. I would never complain about a dish, only to hold onto it. If there is a problem, I want that replaced with a proper one. "Stuff" happens, and it is not about being comp'ed, but to have an issue corrected.

                                                                                                                                                                  Same with wine, that has a problem. My choice of a "replacement" is the same wine, but a "good" bottle of it.ooo

                                                                                                                                                                  Though I have essentially never worked in the restaurant industry, I did provide service to advertising agencies for commercial photography. I had a few clients, who rejected shots, and ask for a reshoot. In every case, it was because the concept had changed, and they wanted the new version, without paying for the original one. It happens.

                                                                                                                                                                  Some, obviously, have a different agenda. I cannot help them.

                                                                                                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                                                                                      2. Thanks to all for posting these hilarious, outrageous stories! My cheeks hurt from laughing so hard.

                                                                                                                                                        1. Though we do not do buffet lines that often, for Sunday Brunch, we have.

                                                                                                                                                          The described behavior sounds a bit odd. However, we have often done the Sunday Brunch at Orchids at the Halekulani, and the attendees are truly international. Though there are many stations, and with some international differences, not all diners are familiar with each dish, or station. Still, that behavior is rather odd.

                                                                                                                                                          OTOH, at other "buffet-style" lines, I have observed some "odd" behavior, at least to me.

                                                                                                                                                          When it comes to wine tastings, I have seen people barge the line, to get their pour, though others have been waiting patiently.

                                                                                                                                                          I have also seen small groups, blocking the entire pouring table, to talk to the wine maker, or the person pouring, and not letting anyone else near that table.

                                                                                                                                                          Odd "stuff" happens.

                                                                                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                            I see that often at a "nicer" local liquor store.....they have a large tasting area & commonly offer tastings of wines. There is a group of "regulars" who hang out there & won't budge an inch, so no one else can get in for a tasting. I've been interested in buying wines provided I could taste them but have put them back. The staff caters to this group & ignores new potential buyers. Shame.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jenscats5

                                                                                                                                                              Yes, unfortunately "camping" seems to be, too often, the "norm."

                                                                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                                                                          2. To expand on the buffet/self serve stories:

                                                                                                                                                            One day it was my turn to do the coffee run for the office. I was outvoted and had to settle for Starbucks...anyway, I make the order, wait, then as I'm picking up my drinks I make a mental note to grab napkins, straws, etc. from the table so I don't get any grief about forgetting something when I get back to work. I head over to the table with all the coffee extras on it and get cut off by a woman and her two daughters. This woman was about as wide as she was tall, and unfortunately her daughters appeared to be following her example. They stampeded passed me and started pouring copious amounts of EVERYTHING into their frappacinos (funny because it's not even coffee). So, instead of settling for a standard strawberry frappacino with extra whipped cream they modified them into strawberry with both chocolate and vanilla powder, cinnamon, half & half, whole milk, soymilk, nonfat milk, raw sugar, and non-dairy creamer. They literally went down the line and added each and every item. I was seriously stunned. Then they waddled off, leaving the table in complete disarray. I took a few napkins and went back to work...with a decreased faith in the American public.

                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: d8200

                                                                                                                                                              How could they fit all that additional liquid into their frappuccino cups?
                                                                                                                                                              Sounds like a lot of liquid.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Boychucker

                                                                                                                                                                The amount of liquids was a lot less than the powders (I realize that I did say "copious amounts"). Also, the liquids melted some of the whipped cream, which left some more room. The one memory that stands out was the three of them violently shaking the powders. I'm surprised that they didn't just unscrew the lids and spoon that stuff in there.

                                                                                                                                                            2. And I thought buffet food theft was something that only happened in PA.........

                                                                                                                                                              Bizarre behavior witnessed on vacation (Caneel Bay, $$$$ place) during breakfast -

                                                                                                                                                              A family of 6 walks in and is seated next to us - Mom, Dad, three teens and Grandma. Mom says to the waiter "bring us six bottles of water" and goes on to berate him about how he is not to open the bottles, the bottle caps seal better not be broken, don't try to pass off openned bottles, blah, blah, blah.....She was shouting at him like he was a child and/or didn't understand English (he did).

                                                                                                                                                              He comes over with six bottles on the tray, sets the tray down on one of those stands and goes to open the bottle #1 to pour into the water glasses. Mom freaks out and grabs it out of his hand and starts yelling about how he was not to open the bottle. He walks away, she opens one bottle, divides it between all six of them and puts the other five into her beach bag.

                                                                                                                                                              All this crazy behavior to "steal" five bottles of water.

                                                                                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                                Her behavior does seem bizarre but does not seem like theft. Either the water came with the meal complimentary or they paid for it. It does not appear to be the same as taking food home from a buffet.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                  I suspect the water was included in the price of the breakfast buffet. (buffet is the only option, no a la carte at breakfast) so I suppose taking water away from the buffet would be the same as taking an unopenned container of cereal or yogurt, intentionally taking more for later consumption.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                                    It does not seem to be the way that you suggest if it was brought by a waiter instead of being picked up at the buffet by a diner. It does however seem she was being quite frugal.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                      If water is "complimentary" I think a presumption is that it's associated with the meal and not expected to be taken away for other purposes.

                                                                                                                                                                      I worry about what kind of message parents give to their kids when behaving like this. I've had my own arguments about messaging with my spouse when my daughter turned 12, and my wife wanted her to pretend to be under 12 (so she could eat more cheaply off kid's menu) and I wanted her to select off the adult menu (and hence hopefully feel she was being treated like an adult and hence should behave like an adult...).

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: drongo

                                                                                                                                                                        I do agree with you about telling a child to lie about their age. As bizarre as the woman was, if each person paid for a buffet and it came with a bottle of water it is not 'complimentary', the water is paid for whether they drink it at the restaurant or not, unlike the food on the buffet line. I believe there is a difference. If they brought their own plastic cup and filled it up with soda at the buffet line and took it out of the restaurant, that would be stealing. This is enough for me on this matter however as it is way past it's importance as a topic.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: drongo

                                                                                                                                                                          In all the years we have been visiting the resort, water was always served by the waiters via those old fashion silver pitchers wrapped in white towels. I have never seen bottle water sitting out as part of the buffet offering but who knows?

                                                                                                                                                                          You nailed it drongo, what message is that sending to the kids? Her behavior was not only bizzare but very disrespectful to the waiter. If she could afford to stay at the resort, surely she could have afforded to buy 5 bottles of water for later consumption. Instead she acted like a real jerk to either get her money's worth or get something for nothing, whatever the case may be.

                                                                                                                                                                          My husband and I absolutely will not tolerate fibbing about our son's age. My mother as well as my in-laws coached us on that when we were kids and I have had stern conversations with my mother that she is to never do that with our son.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                      but either way -- that's pretty irrational behavior whether you're paying for it or not.

                                                                                                                                                                      On a related note -- Disneyland Paris just had to change the way they serve breakfast (more individual serving sizes) because of all the tourists hauling half the breakfast buffet into the parks to eat for lunch.

                                                                                                                                                                      Grabbing a roll to eat on the bus? I'm cool with that.
                                                                                                                                                                      Stuffing your backpack full of bread and ham and cheese? You should be charged 15 euros a head, just like you'd pay for lunch.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                        Mr. S was out in the dining room restocking the buffet and witnessed a mother and young daughter walk up to the buffet with hat box. The mother took several of the individual serving boxes of cereal (all the popular ones, Fruit Loops, etc) and said to the daughter, 'put those in your hat box, sweetie'.

                                                                                                                                                                        So 'put those in your hat box, sweetie' was added to our lexicon and comes out whenever questionable behaviour is witnessed at a buffet.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                                                                                                                          and that's one of those great bits of snark...because NOBODY around you has any idea what you're talking about!

                                                                                                                                                                          (I rarely go to buffets, because I find the food overwhelmingly mediocre and lukewarm, no matter where it is. I finally asked my loved ones to stop taking me to Mother's Day buffets -- because nobody really enjoyed it.)

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                          My parents noted this behavior while on a tour in Italy, as they were leaving the hotel dining room the mostly European tourists would pretty much vacuum up all the food on the buffet line into their bags to tide them over for the rest of the day.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                                        I'll bet that the family also took all of the toilet paper from every bathroom/stall, before they left...

                                                                                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                                          Possibly dishonest, and certainly behavior that shows no class at all.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. A friend of mine brought tupperware to a buffet. She was going to fill it up with leftovers (with all of us mortified) until she realized that there was a camera on her. I've also been to an AYCE sushi place with her shoving the excess rice down her purse! After the sushi incident, we decided to stick with regular restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                            I woulda decided to stick with regular restaurants WITHOUT HER!

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Back in my broke college days, my roommate and I would eat at the local Wendy's restaurant. To get the most bang for our buck, we would order the salad bar, to-go, and get a lid. Turns out the lid was a lot larger that the plate. We would proceed to fill up the lid with the salad and once full, put the plate on the lid! This worked a few times until the manager saw what was going on and banished us from the salad bar!

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bowyer

                                                                                                                                                                              In my hometiwn the Wendy's had a problem with their salad bar and it really affected their profitability. They ended up closing.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Laughing and laughing.

                                                                                                                                                                              1) ex in-laws, may they rest in peace, were an adventure to eat out with. In a deli, the elderly in-laws and very elderly grandmother would enter the restaurant with a plan. The three of them would split one sandwich and ask for extra bread, pickles and Russian dressing. The grandmother always took home any extra bread and butter pats. I'm sure her pocketbook had butter stains and crumbs in it. Once when we took them out to some lobster place for dad's 80th bd they lived the bread so much they asked for another basket after I had already paid the bill and the dishes had been cleared. When I asked if they wanted a doggie bag they wrapped the bread in napkins and it went into grandma's bag along with the butter.

                                                                                                                                                                              2) my ex from the above family often took along a Tupperware and put it on the booth seat next to her. Once we went to a thanksgiving buffet when out of town. There were signs all over stating that no food could be taken. Ex went to the restroom so shd could look for take out containers or foil on the way since she hadn't packed a container. She came back with toilet seat covers and wrapped the turkey in it.

                                                                                                                                                                              When leaving the hotel we had extra food and had brought an ice chest. The ice at the hotel cost 50¢ ( she had made us drive around for an hour to find the cheapest place (before Internet, smart phones,etc). I was driving so she asked if we could go to 7-11. So we went. She plucked the baseball cap off my head, ran in the store and filled my cap with ice from the big gulp machine.

                                                                                                                                                                              Anytime free samples were being given away she would beg me to ask for one because "the counter people all know me."

                                                                                                                                                                              3) at a soul food brunch buffet the women at the next table are dressed really fancy. One woman is practically encrusted in silver and jewels. Another woman at the table has a long discussion with the waitress because she wants to take the 3 chicken wings in her plate home to her sick aunt. The waitress explains their policy about no doggy bags. She won't take no for an answer. The owner comes out and explains further and she finally accepts it. Moment after the owner leaves she leans over to me and says, "Excuse me sir, would you like my wings?". Doubly funny because although I'm quite masculine I'm not actually male.

                                                                                                                                                                              4) while a collective member in a bakery in Berkeley a woman would come in everyday a get a particular muffin (I invented the recipe about 25 years ago) - wheat free, sugar free, dairy free, oil free, lots of fiber. At that time there weren't many items around like that, even in Berkeley. We would make one batch and at some point in the day we'd run out. We'd tell people that they could call and have us save them 1 or more of any item. She didn't want to bother and the day came when she headed over to the bakery (right after the ashram, photo of guru may(sp?) in her wallet) and we were out of the muffin. Let's just say that the way she went off at me was not very mindful. She screamed that we didn't make enough, what was she going to do - it was the only thing she could eat, etc. since we were a collective and could do whatever we wanted, we banned her. She groveled and we forgave her and she was well-behaved after that.

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: fruti

                                                                                                                                                                                "Excuse me sir, would you like my wings?"

                                                                                                                                                                                oh that line has never worked for me (smirk)

                                                                                                                                                                                as my parents age this is all hitting too close to home.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. "She came back with toilet seat covers and wrapped the turkey in it."

                                                                                                                                                                                OMGah.. *urrgghh*

                                                                                                                                                                                I recall going into a particular country-type resto after witnessing the hostess pick up a piece of tissue from the floor next to a toilet in the bathroom, not washing her hands and then going directly out to her booth where she picked up silverware and showed us to a table. I had our waitress remove it from our table and bring us more. Then I didn't like the way that silverware looked, either. I didn't want to stay but the S/O liked the place so I proceeded to go and get fresh myself. After witnessing my "bizarre " behavior, the waitress asked if I was satisfied now with my choice. I then told her what I'd witnessed. I said, "Well..ok. I'm just going to tell you..." She was speechless and apologized.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. I managed a restaurant where the butter pats came in those little plastic containers with the foil lid but we were going through so many of them I came up with a plan to order the butters that come in foil envelopes. Now these latter butters are not so easy to put into pockets and purses because they undo (especially in our hot Fl weather).

                                                                                                                                                                                  It was great because our butter costs went down considerably and we went through a whole lot less butter per month. That didn't stop the bread making its way into purses, nor the napkins, breadbaskets, teaspoons, lemon slices, sweet and lows and even once a salt and pepper set. A server actually watched a young daughter handing her mother a glass salt and pepper pair which she deftly put into her large purse. We never did get them back even after I tried very delicately to suggest they may be in the bag.

                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: smartie

                                                                                                                                                                                    This woman didn't have salt and pepper shakers in her home?

                                                                                                                                                                                    No wonder resto prices go up.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: smartie

                                                                                                                                                                                      How do you put a lemon slice in your purse? Or do they bring baggies with them?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Terrieltr

                                                                                                                                                                                        Baggies, most likely washed and repurposed specifically for buffet use. Or if they are hardcore like many people I knew growing up, they would use a bread bag!

                                                                                                                                                                                        At my first job out of college, I worked with a woman who would bring in a bread bag (like Wonder Bread) half full of cookies every Monday morning. Sunday nights were her buffet-night with her family and she would take extra cookies off the buffet and bring them to work for her co-workers.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Mine took place in a grocery store a couple of months ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                      The checker was ringing the goods of the woman in front of me. (to note, she was slightly older, but not anywhere near old enough to let her off with a "oh well, that's grandma.") as he's ringing a bag of what turns out to be open chips, she quickly cries, "oh no, i'm not taking those." the checker looks befuddled at the half empty, open bag, "but they're open..." without a beat, she rudely announces, "they're horribly stale. i don't want them." and then gilds the lily, "i don't know how you people can sell those stale chips." well, the customer is always right, but i was seething. i wanted to look at her and say, "you know what you cheap, entitled hag, you are such a friggin' liar. and you're the reason prices can't ever come down. because asswipes like you steal. they were stale? and it took you half the bag to make that decision? or you knew right away but you figured the snack was fine for the store? or the truth, you're just too damn cheap to buy the chips that you opened because you just didn't want to wait til you got home to eat something..."
                                                                                                                                                                                      this is unrelated to whether she had some sort of connected condition like hypoglycemia or what not. i'm not berating her eating in the store, just her lack of willingness to pay for it. ugh.

                                                                                                                                                                                      20 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                                                        You're a better person than I am -- I would have mouthed off for sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                          I would have....no doubt about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I shop at a market that has a very nice hot item/ salad bar. They've actually had to hire a security guard to watch people, who think they're entitled, to come with a container, pack it full of food, and sit down and eat it. This is after they've sampled every item on the bar...with a fork.
                                                                                                                                                                                          This is in an area where people, for the most part, don't have a problem paying for it.
                                                                                                                                                                                          I stood next to a woman while I was packing an item for take out. She stood with a fork tasting the dish I was packing, nudging me to MOVE so she could take a bite.
                                                                                                                                                                                          I asked her what the @##&* she was doing and she looked at me like I was beating her up or something. I simply called for the security guard (who was taking a break) and he and the manager asked her to leave the store. She was stealing....no getting around it.
                                                                                                                                                                                          People like that are worthy of public humiliation as far as I'm concerned....

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                            reminds me of the days when markets still had candy in bins... i used to become irate when i'd see people just eating...

                                                                                                                                                                                            or the experience i had last week (re trying every item on the bar) at an ice cream place where the woman in front of us tried every single flavor on the bar... the employee behind the bar tried to ask her to make a decision, but she kept saying how she just couldn't decide... then the kicker... he finally (jokingly) says, "well now that you've tasted every flavor we have, what would you like?" suddenly, her panties all in a twist, she huffs at him, "i would never give my business to a place that treats their customers so poorly. and as such, i've lost my appetite. good day." and she stormed out.

                                                                                                                                                                                            ...wonder how many places never get her business...

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                                                              you know, I just tried and loved a new ice cream place...and one of the things I loved was that, as soon as we walked in, the server said, "Aloha (said place, Dave's, is on the Big Island of Hawaii)....we make our own ice cream here on the island, and please, taste as many flavors as you would like before making a decision. You are welcome to taste them all if you like."

                                                                                                                                                                                              While the woman you observed shouldn't have gotten in a huff if the server really did make it clear that he was joking (I could see where it might not have been clear, from her perspective), I see nothing wrong with doing lots of tasting before buying, and I wish more ice cream stores allowed and encouraged it. the tastes are pretty small, and the (premium) ice cream isn't cheap. Would turn me into a loyal customer, assuming I liked the ice cream (admittedly, if after all that tasting I didn't find a flavor I liked, I wouldn't be likely to want to come back for more free tastes.)

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't know about the multiple tastings. Maybe it's a NY thing where so many places I go seem to always have a huge line. The last thing I want to do is inconvenience the people behind me by doing a lot of tastings. If there's nobody behind me (which is rare), I do up to 2 tastings -- that is if they permit it as some places stipulate only one tasting. If there is a line, I'll taste one then order.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Hawaii definitely seems to be on "island time." Once an innocuous little question to the supermarket cashier resulted in her telling me her life story even though there was a line behind me. The woman in back of me ended up telling the cashier to hurry up after about 5 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                                  actually, we were the only people in the place, which made it easy on the one staff person in the shop. I would have definitely curbed the number of tastes if there had been a lot of patrons and only one server. That said, I have been to ice cream places where one staff person just gives multiple people tastes at the same time and then another staff person takes orders in the turn that people entered the store. A nice system.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Server did not appear to be too much on 'island time' but somehow I like the idea for an ice cream place. It should be a mini-vacation even if patrons aren't on vacation...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                                    i agree... i try to keep tastings lower if there are people behind me. but i also noticed while in nyc, i was in laboratorio at like 11am and was the only one in there, and they still limited me to two tastings. i found this very frustrating cuz its kinda expensive for how much ya get, and they had so many flavors that sounded interesting!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well, my default is butter pecan. But if the flavors are really exotic, I understand the need to taste.What flavor did you ultimately choose?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                                                        toasted hazelnut and mocha i believe

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think if you have to taste more than a couple of flavors before purchasing, you should maybe do this on a slow time or day at the ice cream place. There is nothing worse than being in a line behind an indecisive or picky eater in an eating place. He or she has had so much time to decide on a choice, but here he is faced with decision, and he comes up confused or demanding. Surely you know what flavors of ice cream you generally like? Take a chance for Pete's sake. If you have to have a taste, choose two. How can you think you would not like an ice cream flavor enough to cause inconvenience to everyone else?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                                                      that is the reason for having a server whose job it is *only* to give tastes (and I have seen places that do this). That way those of you who know what you want don't have to wait at all, even if I choose to taste everything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      but I think your approach sort of misses the point with a new place. Just because I like a certain flavor at one place does *not* mean it will be my favorite at another place. Some ice cream stores definitely are uneven, with some great flavors and some not so great. So at a new place, yes, I am going to do as much tasting as they will let me do and as the crowd and crowd control will politely permit. Once I get to know a place it isn't necessary. For example, at my old neighborhood place, Mitchell's in SF, there was always a line and a wait, but I didn't taste. Didn't need to. I knew the baby coconut was my favorite and that is what I ordered.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                        i definitely agree on this one! i have several flavors of ice cream that i really like, but each one depends on where i am. I will only order cake batter at Kilwins chocolates (a regional chain), love the roasted banana at Lapperts in hawaii, chocolate i will only get queen city cayenne (aka spicy chocolate) from Jenis in columbus.... because all others pale in comparison to these ones!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                                                                          You guys are way more discriminating about your ice cream than I am. I would almost always be happy with butter pecan, unless it came from Coldstone. I don't like their stuff. Honestly I eat ice cream so seldom, I am just happy to have it when I do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have a favorite gelato place that rotates their flavors, so I often want to try one or two of the new ones to see if I like them. For instance, sage is surprisingly good as a gelato flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I've had basil sorbet, but not basil gelato. Sounds yummy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Terrieltr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It was much better than the avocado gelato. Which was expectedly creamy and rich, but no way in hell could I finish even a quarter scoop of that. The basil was really, really good. Next time I'll get the sea salt gelato.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.capogirogelato.com/flavors...

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                      personally i'm more in line with Miss Needle. i try not to overstep the graciousness by over tasting or sampling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      that said, my point, which i clearly failed to make, was that this woman pretty obviously had no intention of buying anything... she's that perennial taster that finds an excuse not to buy where'er she goes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not too long ago I was in one of those candy in bins places (in old-town Sacramento, where that type of place sort of fits...). Anyway, a group of school kids fresh from a tour of the train museum nearby came in for a post-tour snack. The staff was obviously concerned about pilferers...but handled it very well...someone announced: "Welcome! You can have up to five pieces of any of the candy in the bins for free as a taste - after you've tried your five feel free to buy what you like!" or something like that.....I was watching the kids....they were being good about just taking the five pieces (I had my five too...hey, I LOVE salt water taffy!:-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                    i definitely ranted to the checker and the person behind me in line afterwards....

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. A few years ago at a decent but not great Thai restaurant near the U. of Wisconsin - priced for the student trade - my companion and I were eating our dinner when a man who seemed to be in his early thirties came in, sat himself down, pulled a container out of his backpack and commenced eating - after complaining to the poor waiter (who was trying to explain normal restaurant behavior) that there wasn't a fork at his table, and that he wanted some water, and a napkin, and more hot sauce, and...the manager eventually just let him sit there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. OK here’s another story that happened many years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I had recently starting working for a small company of about ten people. We were all putting in extra hours to meet a deadline. It was late Sat & the VP (late 40’s female) excitedly announced, “We’re all going to Resto X for dinner & the company’s paying.” We were thrilled bec Resto X had the most amazing prime rib that was only served Sat. We all ordered prime rib & asked for doggie bags.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    So in the afterglow of dinner when we were just sittin around chatting, the VP casually pulled out a mirror & tweezers & began plucking her chin hair! I was stunned. I kept staring bec I never saw anything like this before. Everybody else kept talking with her like it was no big deal. All I could think was, “Eeeww.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Spice_zing

                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is the reason I don't watch TV or work on my laptop while eating.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      That's disgusting and she acts like a classless moron.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I went to a local seafood restaurant with my family. The hostess sat us down next to a very large family (the gap between tables was less then 6 inches) in a center row. Fast forward 15 minutes, and we have our salads.. as I go to take a bite, I hear click click click and then feel something hit my cheek. I look over and the woman next to me at the other table was CLIPPING HER NAILS. Pieces of her nails were hitting me, and landing in my food. I immediately asked her to stop hitting me in the face with her nail clippings, and ask the server to bring me a new salad. Seriously, who clips their fingernails in a restaurant? So gross.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                                                                                                                        ewwwww..... that and the chin-plucking....seriously, on what planet is it acceptable to conduct your personal hygiene at a table -- doubly so at a restaurant?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't get squicked out very easily, but that comes as close as anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                          i was on a flight from oakland, ca to LAX to see my fam... very well-dressed, 50ish woman first does her make up, then brushes her long hair, pulls the hair out of the brush(i.e. cleans her brush,,) and puts the hair into the back of the seat pocket that normally holds the airline magazine.... EWWWW!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: betsydiver

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm one of those people who would have asked her why she did that, and if she thought that the airline cleaners looked forward to such "treasures"

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: betsydiver

                                                                                                                                                                                                              aaaarrrggghhhh!!!! thats so gross i cant even stand it! what is wrong with people?!?!?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: betsydiver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                In a similar vein . . . A year or two ago I was out to lunch with friends. The table next to us was occupied by a family: mom, dad, two teen girls with long hair. During the meal one of the girls pulls a brush from her bag and brushes her hair at the table. And neither parent bats an eyelash. My friends and I were a bit skeeved and, even though it was not the restaurant's fault, have never returned to that establishment (maybe we're secretly afraid the family are regulars).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Two things come to mind:

                                                                                                                                                                                                              (1) Finger nails or toe nails?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              (2) Take that pitcher of ice water the waiter left you and pour it on Ms. Hygiene.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was thinking along the lines of "dropping" the salad on her lap....but ice water works, too. Oh, oops, I was just washing my hands at the table....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  <3 I love that you remember me from the water incident! You are awesome.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1) Fingernails… but still really gross, if it were toenails a new salad would not have compensated me, I would need therapy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2) if it were that restaurant I might have, but at least they always gave me a private booth because I tipped 34% ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This takes the cake IMO. For gross behavior on the part of fellow restaurant patrons I mean. Gross behavior by waitstaff/cooks/chefs and stealing is a whole other story...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    oh my friggin god.....i will continue to be horrified by that story for quite a while. my friggin god....people never cease to amaze me. completely classless pigs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Which reminds me! (Thank you.) I went to Italy alone for two months almost 25 years ago. It was Thanksgiving, but I was the only person in the restaurant who knew that. It was in Florence. This place, like many there, seated people with strangers to fill the tables. Me and an older guy who looked unexceptional in any way. He finished his meal as I was finishing mine. Then he took out a toothpick and proceeded to clean the dirt from under his fingernails while I finished up my Thanksgiving dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I hesitated to finish this story. But I've always believed that things like this happen for the best. Sure, it's unpleasant, but you get a great story out of it that more than makes up in the end.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Seriously gryphon, who doesn't know it's only appropriate to clip your nails at the dinner table when you're dining at home ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Ok, so I'm not the only one who's seen this stuff. I read through ALL the replies and am not the least bit surprised. Here's what I've learned over my lifetime of people watching:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. People will take ANYTHING that's not nailed down. Yes, even knobs from radios at a car show....for a car that was NOT yet out to the available public. Can't convince me you needed a replacement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. People who have money will find more ways to NOT spend money that to spend money. I'll spare the details of the 99.95% consumed lobster tail dinner that was sent back because there was a discoloration at the bottom of the tail (perfectly normal). This was done by a local pool store emporium owners wife. Even though it was 30 years ago, it still frosts my cupcakes!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. There are those people who think they are entitled to everything, without reason.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4. Avoid buffets like the plague.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I really dislike the general public. If I could hang out with folks from Chowhound and not have to interact with anyone else, I'd be happier. Keep the stories coming....I'm pleased to know I'm not the only one who will call someone out for reprehensible behavior!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        *off my soap box*

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Dee S

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "I really dislike the general public. If I could hang out with folks from Chowhound and not have to interact with anyone else, I'd be happier. Keep the stories coming....I'm pleased to know I'm not the only one who will call someone out for reprehensible behavior!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Amen to that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cheers!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Dee S

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "frosts my cupcakes" LOVE it!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Jasz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It's nicer than saying something else; it makes people laugh, especially those that know I bake. My other quote is "Slather butter on me cuz I'm toast." Makes a strong statement when you're tired of something.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Life's too short to not have something funny to say. Glad you enjoyed it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Dee S

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                dh says such and such "really eats my lunch" when he is in polite company :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. This happened to me yesterday. My sister and I went to this small. storefront, sandqwich shop that is pretty well known in the local community. I've been dying to eat there. The sandwiches were delicious! However, I am hesitant to go back because just as we were finished eating, the lady behind the counter started to cut her teenage daughter's hair -right in the middle of the food prep area and letting it fall to the floor. Now there was no hair in our food but it still felt really bizarre to me. Wait until no customers were there to witness it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              no - don't cut someone's hair in a restaurant -- for any reason, ever!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In this case I'd call the local Health Department and report what you saw.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Most likely , with this sort of indifferent, cavalier attitude, there are more serious infractions.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's more than disgusting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  kind of makes that health code requirement of covering one's hair seem, i don't know, obsolete and irrelevant...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Not to be gross, but there was one incident, lexpatti can back me on this one… we went to a new restaurant to try the food, and I pulled (NO LIE) a foot long black hair from my wrap.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That does it....
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I can't read these anymore :).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'll never eat in another restaurant, ever again, if I do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And funny, as NONE of these stories is about what is even going on in the back of the house that you don't see... this is just what's happened OUT FRONT:)!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Latindancer, you are right to think twice about eating out in certain resto's. Ever read Anthony Bordain's Kitchen Confidential?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Someone told me about his book...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I know myself well enough to know that if I read this book I'd never again risk eating out in a restaurant...:).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The visuals from reading his descriptions, for me, wouldn't be any different than actually seeing them in person.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. A few years ago, a friend and I were at a fantastic breakfast buffet at the Intercity Hotel in Vienna. (It used to be included in your room price but now I think they charge about $20.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We were in a hurry to make a train and didn't have much time to eat so we asked the head matron if we could take some of the bread, ham and cheese we had on our table since we didn't have time to finish. She said, "I'm not supposed to let you but go ahead." We were happy she made an exception. Then, she added that when the Italian tour groups were there, it was just awful the way they tried to sneak food away. I'm half Italian (and I think I look Italian, too!) and I thought it was funny. She knew we were Americans but didn't seem to realize a lot of us are only a generation or two away from immigrants from other countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A couple of times, in very nice restaurants in San Francisco, I've been shocked to see couples making out, heavy making out. (Too much wine?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ewww - PDA (but then Herb Caen did call SF "The Cool Grey City of Love") still "get a room!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "A couple of times, in very nice restaurants in San Francisco, I've been shocked to see couples making out, heavy making out. (Too much wine?)"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As a long time server I've seen more heavy petting at tables than I care to remember.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A "lady" pleasurung her man under the table? Check.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A "gentleman" with his head nestled in his "lady's" bosom? Check.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A couple in the unisex bathroom having loud, obnoxious sex? Oh, yeah!!! It was late at night and we were just about empty so the entire staff gathered outside the door to listen. Sorry, if you're gonna do it in piblic you'd better expect an audience!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kimmer1850

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Please tell me there was an ovation when they came out of the bathroom tucking their clothes in....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kimmer1850

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Reminds me of the time the restaurant where I worked closed for a private party. All the food had gone out, so a bunch of the BOH staff were hanging at the door to the dining room, looking out the windows and watching the revelry. One guest was sitting next to his GF/wife/escort with his arm slung around her neck as they were chatting with the others at their table. After a couple of drinks, he reaches his hand down to her breast - arm still around her neck - and starts cupping it gently. After a couple more drinks, he's got his hand inside her blouse, mashing her boob like he was churning butter. We had to stop watching when the FOH manager heard us laughing in the kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kimmer1850

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I caught a bathroom encounter once too. Well, I wasn't the one that caught it...the server did. She was mortified, and told me (the lone remaining kitchen guy) to go down there and break it up. The funny part was that they were the last customers of the night. The place was empty except for these two, and they sneak off like no one is going to notice. News flash, if you're the last customer(s) in a restaurant the entire staff is watching you like a hawk because they have to wait for you to leave before they can go home (or start drinking at the bar).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: d8200

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Friends came to AZ for a board meeting. They were staying out at a resort, many miles out, and decided to play a round of golf, before they turned in for the night, prior to a very busy day. They got to about 17, and one of the foursome hit into a deep bunker. When he went to hit out of that bunker, there was a guy, two girls (all nude), and a camera man, taping a porn flick.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    At least we all got to laugh about that, when we met the next day. I think that all of them hit into that bunker, in their round, before they flew back to Denver. Heck, when I end up in a bunker, I usually find that my ball landed in a pile of goose poop.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Similiar happened to us while in Hawaii. We were looking for a spot to eat lunch. We were to only ones on a small black sand beach and were getting ready to eat. Man with camera and woman in bikini show up. Woman takes suit off and filming began. We left and headed down to a different beach.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: kimmer1850

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    At least no one was yelling "palamino!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I went to a deli a few years back with a friend for lunch, we both ordered sandwiches on rye with a potato pancake (latke) on the side. Our sandwiches come and on a sideplate is one latke kinda dried out looking and waitress says there's a fresh batch cooking and my friend will get a fresh one in a moment.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I took a forkful of mine and found it to be cold and dry. So I called the waitress over and asked for a new one when the batch was ready as this was beyond eating. She then picked up the latke off my plate with her fingers! And without any finesse stomped off, finally bringing the 2 new hot ones.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  At the end of the meal as we went to pay at the counter I asked the cashier if he was the owner and he said yes. I told him the story and he says 'well what to do you want from minimum wage staff?"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My friend and I chuckled all the way home. I've never been back there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: smartie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    No, of course not. Not exactly a well run place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Enjoyed reading and laughing at the posts. Unbelievable how some people can behave. My daughter and I were actually at a Garden Center last year buying some bedding plants, flowers etc. to do our pots. We noticed a Chinese women rifling through the cherry tomatoe plants. We realized she was stripping the plants of the ripe tomatoes and putting them into a plastic bag. We told a member of staff who approached her to ask her what she was doing and she scampered off down an aisle and dumped the bag under a table. Sure enough when the staff member opened the bag there must have been 2 lbs of lovely red, ripe cherry tomatoes. As we were leaving the parking lot we saw her get into a Mercedes coupe, I proceeded to tell her off in cantonese that what she was doing was stealing!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: expatfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      people have no friggin shame i tell u. i mean some people just dont have an "embarrassment level" or something. id be mortified if someone saw me doing that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: expatfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Lol, I love this story, I'm both horrified and giggling. I think she may have been a rare Chinese leprechaun (the "scampering" is the tell). Expat, now every next generation in your family will be shorter, have more crooked legs, and the gift of Cantonese blarney. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm sorry, glad you were giggling but are you implying that I am lying? Wishing the next generation in my family to be shorter and to have crooked legs, what is that all about? Call up the Art Knapp Garden Center in Richmond, BC. By the way my son is 6ft 4" and my daughter 5 ft 5" so very much taller than me. You should not wish ill on other people, what goes around comes around.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: expatfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think the Duchess was making a joke. Relax.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Amongst the many tales of leprechauns (apparently triggered by the word "scampering") includes the "fact" that if you insult a leprechaun, your children will be short and crippled.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It's just a joke.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              yeah it was an awkward wording which took me a moment to recall the old myths and 'get it'. Duchess was riffing on that, not wishing ill on you and yours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              OT but doesn't every culture have a tradition of impish creatures that can cause fortune or failure?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for clarification sunshine842 and hill food, I have never heard of the "leprechaun, mischief maker thing " so yes, was taken aback. Trust me the "culprit" was no leprechaun, just a thief and I have no problem telling people off when I find their behaviour inappropriate!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: expatfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  HA! and I wish I was multi-lingual so I could do the same (a smattering of Euro and 2 summers of Mandarin doesn't let me mouth off easily when I want to)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Now I understand why I am only 4' - 6" and my hair and beard turned bright red!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                At least I got a pot of gold for that, but then the value has been in a bit of a decline lately.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Hubby and I traveled to Big City X & stayed at a nice hotel. We were at breakfast in the hotel resto where you seat yourself. I turned slightly and a couple at a nearby table caught my eye. I whispered to my husband, “Is that man wearing his PAJAMAS??? Hubby peered over and said, “Yep,” and continued eating. (he doesn’t get excited ‘bout these things unless it involves sports. But that’s another story.) When I looked again I saw that the wife was wearing hers too! I thought I was in a hospital ward for a minute. It was utterly ridiculous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Spice_zing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Every now and then, Philadelphia Tourism runs a "Philly's More Fun When You Sleep Over" campaign. Part of the package is you stay in a nice hotel and have breakfast in your pajamas in the restaurant in the morning. It must be popular, because they seem to run it every few months.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thank you for the warning. I had never heard of that promo, but now I have. Not sure that I like it, and will certainly not participate in it, but again, I have been warned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Appreciated,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I've always wondered what they do with the tourists who like to sleep "au naturale" ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That would make for some... interesting people-watching too way early in the day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cookmyassoff

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      and yes it was on another thread but i dont remember which one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Good question, but I do not want to encounter the results. I will leave that to others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. My story is about bizzare behavior not under anyone's control. Some years ago we went to a small local restaurant with another couple for prime rib (which they did well). The staff set up a long table for a large party right next to us. In came around two dozen people for a family reunion dinner. It was easy to see that one man in the party was quite mentally challenged. They all sat down to dinner and were well into the entree stage with lots of good family conversation when this young man had a grand mal seizure. On the floor, screaming and kicking before it fully took hold of him. Needless to say, the family get together was over. The mood of the entire restaurant changed instantly. His seizure ended peacefully and we, as dipomatically as possible, paid and left. The restaurant had almost entirely emptied out by then. The owners were gracious and just as stunned as everyone. What a night!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Enigma3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                oh man, poor guy! i swear i am thankful for my relatively good health every day of my life! can u imagine? ur just trying to have dinner with the fam and all of a sudden ur on the ground flopping like a fish? how awful for him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I was about twenty years old, and a group of us visited a friend in Connecticut. We went out for Chinese food probably around ten o'clock, as we had arrived at his house around nine. After taking our order, the waitress warned us at length that if we were thinking about skipping out on the bill, we should expect to get hurt. At that age, none of us really knew how to react. My friend wrote a letter to the manager, but I don't think he ever received a reply.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Another time, my wife and I went to a local chain and when we presented a coupon we were lectured by the waitress regarding the proper amount to tip. "This doesn't do anything for me," was how she started out. I emailed the manager, who apologized, assured us that the waitress had been disciplined, and invited us back for a meal on the house. I never took him up on it - I didn't feel like going back under the circumstances. We returned to the place once in a while, as it was the kind of place that wasn't bad for a quick bite and a beer, but I just didn't want the attention, dog and pony show, embarrassing "personal" treatment, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: CoachJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  CoachJ,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Whenever I use any form of coupon, I always ask the server to let me know the total bill, prior to any discount, so that I can calculate the tip, based on that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What the waitress did was just bad form, IMHO. She assumed the worst. Yes, just bad form.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    CoachJ's story reminds me of the time we dined at a customer's restaurant, a high-end place. The customer comped our meal and said to us "just make sure you tip the waitress" It really rubbed me the wrong way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I would never NOT tip on the value/menu price of the check but obviously enough people are cheap enough use a coupon/comp reduction as an excuse to tip less that he felt the need to say something to us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ya i was going to say it probably wasnt u, just other cheapskates that he felt he needed to say it. even when it says right on those "living social" or whatever coupons, that the discount doesnt apply to tax, alcohol, and u still need to leave gratuity on the total amount. some people just dont want to see that last part.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        and a lot of people just plain don't know any better. There's no graceful way to gently remind people to tip the server...but it obviously happens enough that he feels that it's necessary to mention it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And sometimes people just forget or are absent minded. I'm always very careful to make sure to tip on the pre-discount amount. But I do remember a time when I was out with my mother, and the restaurant comped my very-over cooked steak. (They replaced it with a proper one, so they totally didn't need to do that, but they did.) When she was figuring the tip, I had to remind her to include the price of my steak in her calculation - she was horrified that she almost forgot to do so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cleo,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have observed folk at near-by tables, who do not tip on the original bill, but choose to tip (usually very lightly) on the adjusted net. A few have even argued over how little they could get away with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          As mentioned, there is no accounting for some folk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I always try to make sure that I am tipping on gross amount, and usually on what the total bill would have been, though I do not figure any additional taxes, but tip on what appears (on the net).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I also try to give the server a little H/U, when I ask that they tell me the original gross amount, if it does not appear on the adjusted bill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Personally, I always tip on whatever the total would have been before any discount. IMO, a waiter/tress just has to deal with the fact that he/she is going to get shafted once in a while, especially when discounts are involved. Assuming the worst about your customers is not a great way to start their meal, but the way she phrased it was key - "This does nothing for me." We both thought she was trying to say that she was going to try to stop us from using the coupon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Not quite resto behavior but along the same lines - the elderly Asian folk that pour themselves cups of soy creamer or half and half at the Trader Joes coffee sample station.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Scrapironchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Is it pertinent that they're Asian?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          maybe its pertinent since its only elderly asian folk the poster has seen doing this. (im assuming here) u know, as a curiosity. but i feel u......

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As cookmyassoff posited, I've only seen Asians doing it. So while not pertinent it is relevant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Scrapironchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              While not Asian, my grandfather thought nothing of filing his pockets with those little half-half cups every chance he got. He refused to see it as steal because he "paid for the coffee."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Now, maybe not the same thing, we were recently at a West Coast hotel. It had a coffee maker, but I could not get the housekeeping staff to refill the sugar supply, though they had no problem loading us up with Splenda, etc.. I had breakfast at their restaurant, and noticed that they had raw sugar in packets. I asked the server for a few extra, to take back to the room. I was stunned when he arrived with a small Kraft paper bag, filled with them. That solved the housekeeping problem, and with raw sugar no less. He got a "little something extra" in his tip, though I withdrew that from the tip for housekeeping.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ha! No, definately not the same thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I adore that raw sugar (always reminds me of my honeymoon) and I am glad the server knew that a little "extra" sometimes goes a long way in making a guest happy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    u can buy that in most stores now in bigger boxes. maybe im slow but i just recently discovered this. turbinado sugar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Scrapironchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have never observed such, but maybe out TJ's do not have the coffee stations, or I have just never bothered to notice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I used to work in an office where we had to start keeping the sugar packets under lock and key, because they'd walk off by themselves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We had visions of someone making a cake, standing there patiently opening 400gajillion sugar packets to get to their cup of sugar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My late great aunt back in the 1960s lived in a rooming house and took most of her meals out. She drank unsweetened coffee, but thought she was entitled a packet of sugar with it. When we cleaned her room after she died we found bags and bags of sugar packets (and matches, though she didn't smoke). It took my father, a 1 tsp a day sugar with coffee drinker, about 2 years to use them up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The weirdest restaurant behavior I've seen was in a dim sum place in Calgary (whole fried fish to die for, worst shu mai on three continents) where an elderly gentleman, after getting cartons for his unfinished items - no big deal - pulled out a water bottle and poured remainder of his and his companions' by now cold tea into it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tardigrade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My mother in law is extremely affluent (multimillionaire) yet she has a purse full of ketchups, sugars, salt packets and even a ziplock baggies to get "leftovers" if we are somewhere and there are no take out containers. I found it bizarre that a woman who could buy whatever she wanted, including a house with a credit card swipe but she always takes extra condiments…. so odd. I bet she has a billion McDonalds ketchups in a bin somewhere, I am dreading the purge of her house when she dies, she never throws away anything...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    my grandmother, may she RIP, wasn't a multimillionaire, but she and my grandfather kept condiments buy the packets in plastic jars... you'd say, "may i please have some ketchup?" ..."sure, how many?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      maybe shes got a little bit of that "hoarder" action going on...??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ever since the recession hit there has been a tremendous uptick in the amount of sugar/sweetener packets and little creamer cups "used" in our company. One of our perks (no pun intended) is having 2 industrial Keurig machines on each floor and a free selection of k-cups. Boy do those puppies have legs! I order my own now & keep a stash in my office.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes. While we do not have one, we encounter them often. I can well imagine how easy those little k-cups (like that term) are to pilfer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You know, that could well have happened.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        once in a previous life I was responsible for ordering that stuff for the kitchens in the office. sugar - boxes of loose cubes opened before they went on the shelf (crumbly and not pocket friendly). creamer - not the individual but a split crate of half n half and non-fat quarts delivered every monday AM fresh from a local distributor. various painkillers (high stress place) in intentionally half full individual pack dispenser boxes checked every day. same approach to the Equal and Sweet n Low. (half empty and then folks only take what they need)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        if I put out a simple bulk container of sweeteners or painkiller and the whole thing would be gone in an hour. otherwise just a handful of packs would be swiped - more expensive on a per usage basis, but better to lose $10 in Advil packs than a $35 jar. actually gave me faith in human nature as yes people would swipe, but they'd leave something for others. (I fiercely guarded the secret I had a 3 month supply of the dry goods hidden in the basement stashed under lock and key I don't think I even told my boss yes I was tight-fisted, but it was so if some schlep is there at 2 AM and has a headache or in need of caffeine, there would be a chance there'd be something)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I onced worked in an office where the owner was so cheap he charged $3 a week if you drank the company's coffee. I paid for a while but since I was not much of a coffee drinker and I was mostly out of the office I just quit drinking coffee at work. (Not only was the owner cheap but he had the worst morals of any human I have ever known).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. I did not witness this, I heard the story on the radio. There is a newspaper sports columnist in the Twin Cities who is a legend in the market. He got his first job as a reporter in 1946 and he is still going strong (92 years old I believe). Anyway, he was at a luncheon put on by one of the professional sports teams, probably about 35 years ago, and he was eating what he thought was a bowl of soup. The young newspaper guy sitting across the table who told the story on the radio looked on with amusement. It turns out it was not a bowl of soup but a bowl of thousand island dressing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ok i just threw up in my mouth a little bit....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cookmyassoff

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        He said, "You should try the soup, it's really creamy".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Stuff" happens. Years ago, we were up in the CO High Country for a ski race. We had little time, but stopped at the gondola building's restaurant for a quick breakfast. They had just opened, and I ordered pancakes. Sat down, looked around, and saw a little "pitcher" on every table. I poured a bit of the contents over my pancakes. SOY SAUCE! The line had formed, the practice runs were moments away, so I just ate those Soy-coated pancakes. Taught me to check what is in a pitcher. Who ever expected it to be soy sauce, for breakfast - now I know better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sometimes I wish there were a "like" button on here. You gave me a laugh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yeah. I can laugh now, but let me tell you, my face was red, and those pancakes... well not MY "thing." I did learn to check very carefully now - same for unmarked salt, and pepper shakers on a table. I know that I look like a little ole farmer, sprinkling a bit from the shaker, into my hand, but I do NOT want (usually) to add a bunch of salt, when what I want is pepper.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              yea u wouldnt really think about it being soy sauce at breakfast! at least i wouldnt. that'll teach u to assume! those must have been nasty. :( i wonder what ever possessed anyone to put pitchers of soy sauce on breakfast tables. anyway.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cookmyassoff

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It actually works pretty well on breakfast fried rice and eggs....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Scrapironchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  yea i like soy glazed fried eggs......probably not so much on pancakes. theres a place in sacramento, el chico, where u can get fried rice as a side at breakfast instead of potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I showed up a little late for an open house at a business headquarters. Most of the snacks were gone, but there were some tortilla chips and aa bowl of green goo. So I scooped up a generous mound of the guacamole and popped it in my mouth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ---I thought the top of my head was going to blow off! Tears were streaming down my face and I was writhing in pain. Folks were thinking of calling an ambulance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It was wasabi.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Sharuf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              oh.....my......god......i will continued to be horrified by that story for a while.....u poor thing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. This isn't a restaurant, but others have mentioned stores and samples, so here's a couple that come to mind:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          At a nearby Whole Foods, there was a big bowl filled with gummy bears samples. A child about 10 years old ran over and began eating one after another (forget the tongs!), hovering over the bowl. His mom (I'm guessing?) did *nothing* at all. She was looking at the cheese about 2 feet way, and totally knew what the child was doing. An adult even approached to see if he, too, may try a gummy animal, but no dice. The kid ended up eating the entire bowl, which was no small bowl.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Again at the same Whole Foods, I saw a well-dressed couple probably in their early 60's who stood over a sample table with one of those whole-brie-with-jam-on-top things with crackers and ate the WHOLE THING between them. The man even stopped using his crackers at one point and switched to using his finger instead (this is much easier!). It was really nuts. They didn't look at each other or talk much or do anything else; just looked down at the cheese and ate and ate. I felt sad because I thought maybe it was an illness of some sort, but they were doing it as a couple (not that two people can't both be ill) and really weren't that elderly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm a total sample eater myself but I only eat one!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: countersurfer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That's so rude (and disgusting) but what can you do? That's the problem with situations like this. I really wouldn't bother pointing out the bizarre behavior because these folks are obviously morons, so it's a waste of time.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But, I'd reeeeeeeeeeeeaaaallllly want to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              yea it would definitely be hard for me to hold my tongue while witnessing these things. i fear for the generations to come when no one seems to be disciplining their children anymore. a whole generation of kids just running buck wild. and the couple eating the whole wheel of brie? i just dont even know what to say about that one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have a feeling that I have already told this story somewhere on chowhound, but here goes. I have a friend who was in foster care as the result of being a child of a 'failed' adoption. The reason the adoption failed (and he was fourteen when he was adopted, so he was old enough to have a certain amount of judgment) is that "She was crazy." The adoptive dad was not as bad, but he said that 'mom' was absolutely nuts. We took this with a grain of salt, and while we had reason to meet this woman once in a while, never got to know her very well during our mutual growing-up years, particularly since he no longer lived with them. As an adult, I moved to a new neighborhood and discovered that I now share a grocery store with 'mom' and see her pretty frequently. She is usually opening 10-12 strawberry containers and picking out the best berries to fill her chosen container, or breaking cookies into halves so she can only choose the halves with the most chips in them to put in her little bag. Last month I walked up behind her at the meat counter where she was opening packages of chicken breasts and adding extra pieces into the package she had put in her cart...I've mentioned her to store employees and they say they know all about her and try to head her off as she comes into the store, but sometimes she gets past them and they just do whatever they can to get her the heck out of the store with as little fuss as possible. This woman is a very successful retired university professor, her husband was a very big-deal executive, they're not hurting for money. I've had to agree with my friend, she's nuts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Folks, we're having to remove an increasing number of posts from this thread. It was always a little tangential and unlikely to help people eat better, and it's getting a bit out of hand. We're going to lock it now.