"I was on a road trip with my family, and we stopped at a Subway to eat lunch. I ordered the same sub as always: the chicken-bacon-ranch. Hungrily, I took my first bite into the sandwich.
Cold shivers ran down my spine, like nails on a chalkboard or when one pulls a wooden drawer out at a funny angle. I had bitten into a hard piece of ligament or tendon. Oh well; I have a strong stomach and a long history of eating sandwiches such as this. I simply picked out the piece of chicken and happily started over on my sandwich.
I looked at the chicken this time. Purple and lumpy, the chicken looked more like a piece of eggplant. I continued to remove pieces of chicken from the sandwich...all of them contained pieces of sinew. I did not eat for a full 24 hours after that incident, and I have not eaten at Subway in almost a year."
"I once got a Groupon for a sushi place. It was apparently pretty popular because there was constantly a line out the door to be seated.
So I go, sit down, and after about five minutes I notice these black little specks on the walls and curtains. I look closer, and each one is a fruit fly. Honestly, a couple wouldn't bother me, but the wall was speckled everywhere with them.
It was weird because they were on every wood picture frame in the restaurant and were really lethargic. Nobody else seemed to notice."
"I showed up at a restaurant and ordered breakfast. Then I saw a couple leaving, and the maître d' chased them down the street and asked them not to leave just yet. This happened a few times until there was a small group of people milling around outside, giving each other 'what the heck' looks.
Eventually, I overheard the maître d' explaining, 'I'm really sorry, there's been a small problem in the kitchen. The chef is on the phone with the poisons and information hotline, so we'll be able to tell you more in a second.' In the meantime, a waitress told us they wouldn't be able to serve us, so we should go. Curious, we joined the throng of people now standing around outside.
Eventually the maître d' addressed us as a group and said, 'I'm sorry to keep you all waiting here, but we just wanted to be sure about what has happened. The chef had set a large pot of water with caustic soda on the stove to boil, in order to clean it. Unfortunately, our apprentice used that pot to poach your eggs. We have just checked with the poisons and information hotline, who told us that you will all probably be ok because you would have started to show symptoms already had you been given a toxic dose. However, we need to inform you that should you display any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately: vomiting, diarrhea, loss of hearing, loss of sight, bleeding from the eyes, ears, mouth, or rectum, or any lesions appearing on your skin. Thank you all very much, and I'm sorry for the inconvenience.' They closed down a month or so later."
"I went to an Applebee's with my family last year. We sat down in a booth, and I notice a strange smell around the table. I rest my feet on the floor. It was summer and I was wearing flip-flops. I hear this strange squelch noise, and it came from under my shoe. I blink in confusion and decide to look under the table.
It was a dirty, open diaper. I had dipped my foot and toes in baby diarrhea. Some prick parents just decided to leave it there, and some prick cleaners didn't appear to see OR smell it..."
"When I was 15 I worked as a fry cook at a local KFC. As I was prepping the chicken for the fryer a large piece of wet chicken fell on the floor. Side note: the floor was extremely dirty. I then proceeded to pick up the chicken and throw it in the trash because it fell on the dirty floor and was covered in nastiness. But before I could throw it out, my manager saw the incident happen and grabbed the nasty chicken out of my hand and dropped it the fryer. He then told me that chicken was expensive and to never waste it even if it is dirty. Needless to say, I was appalled and felt really bad for the poor soul who bought and ate that piece of chicken.
Since working at KFC I cannot eat any fried chicken."
"A major Las Vegas hotel where I was staying for a conference was offering guests a special 'dinner-and-a-show' prepaid package deal. It was for a meal at the hotel's Japanese cook-at-the-table restaurant and a show in one of their theaters. I went for it, mostly as the show was to be Andrew Dice Clay (comeback attempt?).
That evening I took my voucher to the restaurant and immediately realized I was a special class of customer, with much studying of the ticket, furrowed brows, and discussion in hushed tones. The restaurant was mostly empty, but a chair was brought to one of the already occupied tables and the other customers were rudely shuffled sideways to make room for me. I ate what I was offered by the table-chef and the meal was good, but I was very uncomfortable with the whole scene. Clearly, they didn't want me there.
Showtime was approaching and the Diceman was about to go on, so I left a nice tip beside my plate and walked out (remember I'd already paid). I visited the restroom and when I came out and headed for the theater, I passed the restaurant again.
Suddenly my waiter came running out and stopped me, speaking harshly in Japanese. I figured that he didn't understand that I had already paid the hotel for the dinner. A small crowd gathered as this guy shouted at me and held my elbow.
Finally, someone else from inside the restaurant who spoke both English and Japanese helped our communications. It turned out that they knew I had already paid for my meal, but they wanted extra money for the fried rice I'd been served. Apparently, fried rice was not included in the special deal through the hotel.
I looked at the giant, luxurious hotel around me, considered the thousand dollars I was spending on the room, thought of the $100 I'd spent on the dinner-and-show deal, and then shrugged my shoulders.
It was hard to believe they were demanding $8 more from me for a lump of fried rice I had not even ordered. I walked with them back into the restaurant, went back to the table, and picked up the $20 bill I'd left as a tip. I put it back in my wallet, and then counted out eight ones and handed them to the guy who was hounding me. I then walked out and went to the show, which was as awful as you might expect."
"I once went to a Jason's Deli when I was really young and ordered a peanut butter sandwich. They were really 'busy' that day, and when I got my sandwich and bit into it, I began crying. My parents yelled at me for being 'spoiled' and said that I should eat my food. I kept fussing and fussing until my dad took a bite of my sandwich and spat it out.
Instead of peanut butter, they had spread horseradish with jelly. Now, some people do like horseradish, but I was 6 and a picky eater. To this day I cannot go into a Jason's Deli.
My parents ended up apologizing and got me ice cream. I also got a free sandwich and apologies from the manager, but since I was six I just stuck my tongue out and gave him a nasty look."
"I went to the Zellers (like Target) near my work for lunch, out of convenience. I ordered the all-day breakfast. I saw the waitress bring what I was pretty sure was my meal out and put it down in front of another woman. She took a couple of bites and then flagged down the waitress, saying she was pretty sure she ordered sausage and not bacon.
The waitress walked over to the kitchen with the plate and put it back under the heat lamp. A minute later she picked up the same plate and brought it out to me. I told her that I saw what happened and demanded a new plate of food.
Finally, 20 minutes later, a new plate came out. Before I took a single bite, I looked down and noticed the toast looked funny. I picked it up for a closer look. It was blue. Not like a spot of mold--the entire surface of the bread was covered in it.
The cook had smeared butter across an entire piece of moldy bread, and to be honest, I actually doubt this was done in malice. It's just that bad there. I have never been to a Zellers restaurant since. My mistake in the first place, clearly."
"I have a very sensitive digestive system. I'm lactose intolerant and have mild yeast and wheat allergies, so I don't eat out much. When I do, I visit the same places over and over because I know the staff, they get my allergies, and I like the menu.
Well, a friend of mine wanted to try this Chinese place in town that I had never really noticed before. I was hesitant, but decided to just have a salad or something. We ended up getting take out because we wanted to watch movies while we ate.
We get all the food home, opened up the chow mein, and BAM. Dead bug ON TOP of the noodles. We packed everything back up and took it back to the restaurant.
The manager insisted that WE had put the bug there. Long drawn out argument ensues. Ended up with me and my friend calling the health inspector and the whole place was shut down.
I heard later through a reliable source that when the health inspector moved the stove away from the wall, it was brown, greasy, and bugs were crawling everywhere. Vomit."
"When my family was on vacation in Florida, we went to a steakhouse, and I swear to god our waitress was higher than a kite. She kept mixing up orders and forgetting things and dropping stuff all over the restaurant. Not great service, but not awful. The kicker came when it was time to pay. Our table and two other tables nearby paid with credit cards, and she took all three checks. When she came back, she had no idea which credit card belonged to whom. When everything got sorted out, my dad looked at the receipt and saw that we had been charged for the meal of the people next to us. Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal, except their meal was a lot more expensive than ours was. My dad asked to see the manager, who basically told him, 'Tough' and wouldn't make things right, even though everyone at all three tables was super pissed off."
"The other week I went to Outback Steakhouse with my girlfriend. It was busy, but we had a decent waitress so the service wasn't that bad. I got ballsy and ordered prime rib, the most expensive steak on the menu. When I got my steak, I noticed it was browned all the way around. I cut into it, and it wasn't cooked all the way through. Bullcrap.
I sent the waiter back with it, and the manager comes out and tells me they precook the prime rib. Really? Why? Who does this? I get the normal steak instead, and it comes out burnt on the outside and cold in the middle. Sent THAT back and they microwaved it. WHO DOES THIS?
I've worked in a kitchen for 6 years. I know how to cook steak, and I know when stuff is microwaved. Why would you even try that?"
"It was my last night at home for winter break before I had to fly back across the country the next day to go back to school. My parents decided to take me and my girlfriend who was visiting to a new Irish pub that had opened up in town.
I got the shepherds pie, and it was pretty good. But that night I was woken by a rather peculiar feeling of my digestive system trying to evacuate everything in it through any orifice that was available. I vomited and shat my brains out for hours. Food poisoning from undercooked lamb is not fun.
Nothing more humbling than having your mom and girlfriend try to see if you're ok while being half naked on the toilet, too afraid to turn around to puke because you might defecate on the wall if you do.
I ended up missing my flight the next day and barely made it to school before the start of the semester, and I still can't look at lamb without feeling ill."
"When I was 17 I worked at this place called Roger's Pit BBQ. My job was salad bar duty. The boss explained how my main job was to flip over food in the little plastic trays to make it look fresh, and pick out the visibly rotten stuff.
So I did that for a while, but when I got to the dressing and couldn't tell the difference between Ranch and Bleu Cheese, I started to get grossed out. A mentally challenged guy who stood around with a broom not doing anything would rub up against me every time I passed him, and when I went into the back to talk to the boss, I saw rotten meat and blood all over the counters.
It was so bad that it smelled sweet, like a dead animal in the woods. The boss and the manager were smoking and dropping their ashes into the coleslaw shredder. I said I wanted to quit, and the boss got really angry and yelled at me that I would never have a good job with my bad attitude.
I gave her my apron and cried on the way home. I got an eye infection from wiping my tears after handling the food there. They actually did send me a check for my one hour's worth of work. I didn't cash it. Dirty money, if you ask me."
"I once went to a local restaurant with my dad, who ordered fried clams. When he got his food, he tasted something odd in the clams and asked the waiter to bring him a fresh batch, as he thought these had gone bad.
Next thing we know, the chef comes out of the kitchen to our table carrying one of those white restaurant tubs filled with raw clams. He asked, 'Were you the one who said the clams weren't fresh?' My dad said yes. The chef then stuck the bucket of raw clams in my dad's face, over his nose, and said, 'Here, smell 'em...still think they're not fresh?' We left immediately."
"I recently went to some real hipster restaurant that Foursquare recommended to me. I sat at the bar where I saw all the cooks prepare the food. Literally every worker there was male, had full tattoo sleeves, gauges, and were wearing beanies.
The food was delicious! I ate every single bite of it. As I waited for my check, not 1, but 2 cockroaches ran across the bar. At first I didn't notice, but the person I was sitting next to started stabbing the bar top with a knife and I was like, 'What are you doing?!'
Then I saw the roaches. One of them fell into my purse! The other ran off towards the prep station. This also happened in front of 2 of the workers, who simply laughed it off. They got zero tip, and then they confronted me about it.
I told them about the roaches and how they laughed about it instead of apologizing and comping something on the bill. They said that it wasn't their fault that roaches were running around, and since I already ate all my food it didn't pose a problem. So...not the right way to deal with that problem.
I never returned and told all my friends to avoid that place as well. So gross. I also ended up having to dump out my whole purse to make sure the other roach wasn't in there, but it was and I freaked out."
"Two or three years ago some friends of mine went to Waffle House at two in the morning to get our love of pancakes and chocolate pie fulfilled. Our waiter looked about 20 something, blonde hair, pretty average.
He came up to us, joining our conversation for a bit, even pulling up an extra chair to sit on, and asked us what we wanted to eat. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a rat, size similar to that of a kitten, and I verbally made it known.
Our server looked back at it, saw it, and was like, 'Oh god...I'm sorry. I actually just transferred to this restaurant from the other one across town...hold on a second.' Then he went back to the inner kitchen area, brought back a bottle of windex, sprayed the rat with it many times, went back to the kitchen, and this time brought some cardboard pieces to cover up the front of the grill and cooking area. Then he came back to us. 'Sorry about that,' he said. 'Hopefully that helps somewhat. So what would you like to eat?'"
"I was in Washington D.C. with my mom and my brother, and we were having a jolly old time. We were walking around the streets looking for a place to eat, and we came across a Hard Rock Cafe. Great! We love that place, with all the crap on the walls and...stuff.
It wasn't busy at all, we found out, so we were seated right away and got our drinks. Next up was our food; I think I ordered a burger or something. Anyway, as soon as I'm about to take my first bite, I see my brother (who was sitting across from me) staring at my mother (who was sitting to the left of me).
I looked to see what the hubbub was all about. My mom is staring at her plate, in awe, because there is an actual (dead) cockroach just sitting next to her potatoes. It was perfectly preserved, almost as if the cook placed it there as an added decoration or something. I came really close to barfing, and needless to say we got our money back. I didn't eat for the rest of the day."
"It was my wife's and my birthday (our birthdays are two days apart) and we decided to go out to a nice restaurant with a group of friends. We chose a cute little authentic Italian place that was very highly reviewed on Yelp.
There were about a dozen of us total, and I'd called ahead to make a reservation and make sure the place could accommodate us (like I said, it was a fairly small place).
We got there at about six, ordered our food...and then we waited. It was literally an hour and a half after we ordered before the first person's entree came out. By this time, the restaurant was full of people, and nobody was eating.
We noted a couple nearby with two young children (maybe 5 and 7), who had been waiting over an hour for food as well. Luckily their kids were angelic, but I felt really bad for them. It wouldn't have been so bad except that we had no explanation and no update about how long the food would be. We just had to sit there guessing, as certain friends had to leave before others even got their food.
The food was good, but nothing that would take hours. Almost everyone got pasta, and some people got fish or chicken. It was ridiculous.
They also wouldn't split the check, which is a fairly normal practice. The place also had an automatic 18% gratuity for groups over 6. Fine, totally normal! No complaints. By that time we had been there for about three hours and we just wanted to pay the bill and get out, so we did.
However, apparently the 18% gratuity wasn't actually included in our bill. I later assumed that it was an attempt to be nice and allow us to choose our own tip, maybe as an apology. If that was the case, it wasn't communicated to us.
Anyway, the way I found this out was because the waiter actually came out of the restaurant to find me and ask for the tip afterward. He was nice about it, and I was apologetic and put down 18%. In reality, I would've felt justified refusing to tip, but I just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible at the time."