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How many "Bad clams" do you put up with, before you complain to Management? Is the next day "Too late"?

I bought a large fried whole bellied clam plate at my favorite clam shack last weekend. Out of the approximately 20 clams 7 were spawning, and tasted like… well… crap, I was upset and called the manager in the morning (I was on a date and didn't want to upset a perfect day, it was literally a wonderfully perfect day, except that meal) I would not have even called but seriously when you are paying $20 for a dinner and you cannot eat 40% of it, that is reason to complain. When I told my best friend she said "I would never call the next day, that is just silly, how do they know you are not lying?" I told her "easy, I gave him the name on the credit card receipt, and the bill amount and the time we dined.
She thinks I should have let sleeping dogs lie, but I can't, not when the sleeping dog taste like what comes out of it when it is not sleeping!

He comped me a large fried clam plate for next time, but i might wait a couple weeks for the clams to stop spawning…..

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  1. Complain on the spot, especially with seafood like shellfish; it might be that not only your dish contains bad clams, but both their cooks and/or prep teams could not find them before, or they had a bad batch from their grocers.

    No need to make a scene, just say : "there were many bad clams in my dish, could warn your kitchen staff about it".

    And go on about your meal and that will impress your date as well. :-)

    Kudos to the restaurant for "comping" you on the day after.


    1. One is enough. Two is too many!

        1. re: Motosport

          Ditto - please explain! I'm headed northeast soon and would like to seem semi-intelligent!

          1. re: zillabreeze

            It is when the clam releases it's seeds and sperm, it makes the clams taste literally like *hit. I have never eaten *hit, but I know when you smell it, that is the taste you get in your mouth. It is gross.

            1. re: gryphonskeeper

              Do they look different? How can the chef tell that they are spawning? I thought I knew all about shellfish. This is a mystery to me.

        2. I'm more of the opinion that a food issue should be handled at the time, or not at all. You could have said something, they would have brought you something else, and that would have been the end of it. I would think going hungry or eating bad clams would ruin a day more than asking for a replacement dish?

          1. You could have excused yourself from your date and asked to speak to the manager privately vs. doing it at the table. Always best to make your complaint known at the time so, if possible, they can avoid any issues for other patrons.

            1. "Is the next day "Too late"?"

              If the clams are exceptionally bad and lethal, then "yes" in answer to your question. In more ways than one. :)

              But seriously, I am of the school that complaining about food after the fact does no one any good. By the next day, you and many other patrons could have been seriously ill. Plus, bringing this kind of situation to the restaurant's attention after the fact takes some of the seriousness off of it. "Well, you waited until the next day. Couldn't have been that bad." Telling the manager right then and there could save a lot of grief for everyone. I understand your not wanting to spoil the day, but all you had to do was politely excuse yourself from the table (as if you were going to the restroom) and discreetly approach the hostess stand and ask for the manager.

              1. Kudos to you for mentioning it in the next day. I don't blame you for not wanting to ruin the vibe of a perfect date, I totally get it. I think it shows you care enough to call the next day and share your opinion, any restaurant manager should be able to understand why a patron might wait until the next day to share their experience and it's a poor manager who would discount it because of the delay.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Snorkelvik

                  But by reporting it the next day the op allowed the restaurant to continue serving bad clams. It really is important that a customer report something like this immediately.

                  1. re: mangiare24

                    They are not dangerous, or bad… just spawning so they taste terrible. I would have if not for the perfect date informed them. The man I was with had not been out with a woman in 10 years (He is an artist, while he has spent time with women it was never in public) I didn't want to ruin his perfect day, or mine.

                      1. re: mangiare24

                        Well, they taste bad. So they're bad.

                        1. re: Snorkelvik

                          I was questioning the OP's use of words. She said: "They are not dangerous, or bad..." but used the term "bad clams" in her topic headline.

                        2. re: mangiare24

                          And her actual post clarifies her meaning.

                    1. The last time I had a couple of bad clams, they tasted like *hit, but I grinned and bore it so as to not spoil the mood of the meal.

                      By the next day, I was praying at the white throne (when I wasn't sitting on it), and it continued for two days after that. Yes, with 20/20 hindsight, I should have gone to the doctor so it could have been reported to the health department.

                      So yes. The next day is too late.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sunshine842

                        I agree sunshine842. That's exactly why it is the customer's responsibility to report something like this immediately. Just because the OP did not get sick does not mean someone else will not.

                      2. Two. I'll overlook the first one, but not more than that. I probably would have opted for a discreet mention on the spot but I take your point about "the perfect day" and assume you're the best judge of timing.

                        1 Reply