August 16, 2010

I Feel I Bummed Him Out When I Sent My Dinner Back

Just eat your meal even though it tastes like a bowl of Band-Aids
After one forkful, I frowned. "I don't like this. I'm gonna send it back."

"Please don't. It can't be that bad." He shifted in his seat uncomfortably.

"It's terrible!" I took another bite. After one chew, I spit it out into my napkin half because I'm dramatic and half because it really did taste like dog food. "Oh god, this is disgusting. That's it, I'm sending it back. Where's our waitress?" I craned my neck looking around the room for her.

"Well, I can't be here for this. I'm going outside when she comes over." He picked up his napkin from his lap, wiped his mouth and placed it on the table but he might as well have thrown in the towel for our entire date. 

"You don't have to leave! It's not that big of a deal. I'm sure people send food back all the time." I can't believe he was getting so worked up about this! His face tightened. He looked like I was forcing him to participate in a bank robbery. Buddy, I'm not making you wax a sensitive area on your body; I'm just trying to enjoy my meal. Chill.

"No, really. I can't stand watching people send their food back. She's totally gonna hate us now. Great."

"A) She's not going to hate us. B) This food is terrible and I don't want to eat it. C) The customer is always right. Seriously, stay put." I caught the waitress' eye. She walked over quickly. 

"Everything okay?" She looked concerned.

I explained that I wanted to return my dinner because the food was inedible. He winced when I said the word "inedible." After she took my plate away, I said to him, "There, was that so bad?"

He didn't say anything. He just glared at me. So, yeah, I feel I bummed him out when I sent my dinner back.

31 comments:

Phil said...

I'm this guy. I will smile through the most disgusting meal before I sent something back. The awkwardness/confrontation level is just too high.

Anonymous said...

dont eat at restaurants where there is a possibility of this type of thing happening...step ya fine dining game up, kid.

Anna said...

Hey, he liked his food! Sometimes you can just order "wrong."

lovelindsey said...

sorry dude, i'm with your date here. if i was on a date with some guy and he threw a fit and sent his dinner back i'd be uncomfortable and bummed too.

no second date for you!

Anna said...

It wasn't a fit! It was one sentence that I said to the server and I was polite about it. I NEVER send my food back but it was just THAT BAD.

Don't worry, we ended up having a great time then I made fun of him for getting so worked up about the food send back thing. I saw him again a few days later so yes, a second date for me!

John said...

I can't stand when I'm dining with someone and they send their food back. This is why I don't order more complicated items (steaks, for example) unless I've been to the place before and I know they're probably competent. Also, if my order is messed up (mayonnaise on a sandwich when I asked for none), I'll bite the bullet and stomach the meal anyway, but never go back again.

When you send food back, there's a chance they're going to have to cook you an entirely new dinner. Now I'm sitting there with my food that I don't want to eat yet, because you don't have your meal. And by the time they bring out your new meal, mine is cold. The entire timing is messed up.

Anna said...

If the situation were reversed, i'd rather have my date enjoy his meal then pick at something he didn't like and still be hungry afterwards. We're not in a rush. He can nibble on mine until his order comes out just the way his little heart wants it.

Eric E. said...

Anna, this is a wonderfully written scene. Vivid yet economical. You have an expert's touch! If this is excerpted from a work-in-progress, then sign me up for an autographed, pre-ordered, collector's edition, hardback copy.

BTW, are you already negotiating TV/movie rights? ...hence the clandestine excursion to the left? Or is that just wishful thinking on my part?

Even if I'm totally in the wrong universe here, it's not a bad plan, right? It's just that, when I read posts like this one, I can't help but imagine that whole chain of events.

Anna said...

Haha, Eric. You're on to me...

Anonymous said...

It is just bad. Dinner out is a gamble. You take your shot and move on. Go out for a burger after and laugh about how bad it was.

Plus, you do know what cooks do to stuff that is sent back, don't you?

Anna said...

It's so cute to watch everyone be concerned with meal/date! I love you guys!

xoxo

Anonymous said...

What was the dish you sent back?

Allan Smithee

Anna said...

This is so embarrassing. *covers face with hands*

It was a chicken cheesesteak but instead of the chicken being thinly sliced like the meat on a regular cheesesteak, they were thick meaty strips like chicken tenders. You could tell that the chicken had been frozen because it literally had no flavor and tasted re-heated. It was just a mess all the way around.

There you go! That's the worst entree I've ever had.

Anonymous said...

ordering a chicken cheese steak on a date= Low Swag

Anna said...

This wasn't a first date! I've known this guy for a long time. It was very casual. And fun. We've been to all sorts of restaurants together, but on this particular day, we went to a dive bar to grab a bite. Ho hum.

You guys are CRACKING ME UP with your judging. If it makes you feel better, he ordered cheese fries. And they were delicious. I had a few.

Anna said...

Also, I never eat food like this so the one time I wanted to indulge in a chicken cheesesteak and it came out terrible made me extra annoyed. That was a factor in my outrage.

shawn said...

i used to be the kind of guy who would be uncomfortable with this. A very nervous guy, worried about what servers think of me.
then i grew the fuck up.

Anonymous said...

I've worked in the industry for years so I'm very hesitant to send back food. I normally gush about my love for anything edible but recently had the worst brunch of my life and for the first time ever I sent it back. Eggs benedict w/ cold eggs, cold hashbrowns, non-cooked spinach and NO hollandaise sauce. I politely asked for the sauce which was brought soo cold it had ice crystals (its supposed to be made fresh and hot, obvi). I sent it back but my date was SO embarrassed that he wouldn't let me tell the waiter what was wrong with it. I started to tell the waiter that my date's order was was also wrong (turkey instead of ham) and my date interrupted me w/ a "NO it's fine," and then shushed me!! If anything I think it would have helped the restaurant to know what was wrong so another customer doesn't have the same horrible experience! My date didnt eat his either but refused to send his back. Totally don't get it. Brunch still cost like $40 total. WTF.

Noel said...

People are afraid to send back food because they hear horror stories of what cooks do in the kitchen to returned orders. But I'll let you in on a secret to avoid that type of treatment: don't go to shitty restaurants. Go to a place where the kitchen staff actually cares about the food they are sending through the pass. It's their reputation on the line. Intentionally ruining someone's food is not only juvenile but can also be a health hazard. No good restaurant would put up with kitchen staff who put their business in jeopardy with that kind of childish stupidity. And likewise, if your food isn't what you wanted you can send it back and find that more often than not the staff will be apologetic.

@joeross said...

shawn said...

"i used to be the kind of guy who would be uncomfortable with this. A very nervous guy, worried about what servers think of me.
then i grew the fuck up. "

and i agree with him. i used to be uncomfortable about that stuff. then, one day i asked myself why. and i couldn't think of an answer that didn't make me sound too neurotic for life, so i stopped feeling uncomfortable about it and reallocated the discomfort to more defensible neuroses. i've been more efficiently neurotic ever since.

typical guy said...

ok here's how I am. yes I'd complain. but probably not over a chicken cheesesteak, unless it was like a Barclay Prime cheesesteak or something. That said, if my date wanted to complain I'd let her and I'd probably even do more than shut the F up...most likely I'd take her beef up myself with a manager instead of the waitress. sorry I'm no chicken... cheesesteak. If it bothers my date it bothers maybe-not-so typical guy.

Anonymous said...

I'm a waitress in Philly and here's my take: We live in a country with possibly the most inflated gratuity system in the world, and I'm thankful for that. I was able to put myself through school on those 20% tips. As part of the bargain, I feel it is my responsibility to give you excellent service and a pleasant attitude. Don't apologize to me for asking for another side of mayo or extra napkins... 'tis my job, and I'm happy to have it! My title is Server and so I shall Serve You. But here's the rub:

Be polite.

Most people are, but the gig can be rough sometimes. More people then you might think take their unhappiness out on the employees of the service sector. I handle serious disrespect on a a daily basis, and it can be hard to take, day after day.

Now Anna you don't sound like a bad person who takes things out on poor waitstaff. But there are those that do, so you want to be careful, and never accidentally put yourself in that camp. Sending your food back isn't a big deal, but don't use words like "inedible". It sounds pretentious. It's an overkill word. It makes the waiter feel a sense of shame. Also, if you send your food back, it should be sent back with a reason, like "over-cooked" or "too salty" or "layered with tiny black hairs". Something. You can't just say "inedible". It's a subjective word. What's "inedible" to you might be "delicious" to someone else. If the kitchen is going to throw away a plate of food and make you a new one, you need to give a reason.

Because if you order something and it's fresh and cooked properly, but you just don't like it, well I'm sorry. Eat it once and don't order it again.

Mallory P. said...

Business lunch? I'd say choke it down and pretend it's fine. Casual date? Send it back if it sucks that hard. As long as you're nice and a little self-deprecating about it, I would think people wouldn't care.

The last thing I sent back was an order of Quaker Steak & Lube Louisiana Lickers wings that tasted like everyone in Louisiana had licked them. I can't hang with that.

Anonymous said...

I think the real issue is that you spit the food out into a napkin...that is disgusting and rude. Send it back, fine; act like a 5 year old that was raised in barn with no manners, sad...

al said...

I absolutely would be bummed if my date sent food back. That said, he handled it all wrong. Opportunity my good man!

1. Share your good food.
2. Order another appetizer to cover the hunger.

The dishes are done.

Drew said...

You eat cheesesteaks with a fork?

Anna said...

Not usually! I was picking at the chicken, which was terrible. Thanks for your concern! xoxo

charme said...

how to do you screw up chicken cheesesteak?

If I can't cook it myself and also if I'm paying for a meal, it needs to be good.

To the anonymous waitress: thanks!

Anonymous said...

hahah everyone is so upset. I once ordered a filet mignon cheese steak sandwich at a fancy place on a date one day and it was HUGE chunks of chewy awful meat. My date tried reassuring me, 'no its not bad! how do you not like this?' blah blah blah. Im with you Anna. sometimes the food is just messed up! it'd be different if you threw your plate on the floor and cried.

Anonymous said...

Your date should be more concerned with your meal being satisfactory for his date, than with the opinion of your waitress. Unless he plans on asking HER for a date, why is he so afraid of her opinion of him? Any man who considers YOUR actions to reflect so much on HIS ego that he feels ashamed because YOU send back YOUR food, should be promptly dumped, right there at the table. What a dick. I have worked in food service for years, and have had to go and explain to the head chef that a patron's chicken was "inedible". Well, guess what? It had been on the bottom of the marinating vat and had gotten coated in salt. It WAS inedible. He tried it, agreed, and made her something else as quickly as possible. Tell your date to eat his own damn food and stfu. This is the type of ego that will make you feel like a constant reflection of him for the rest of your life, besides acting like a giant social fraidy cat. :b

Anonymous said...

i know this is an old post but...my 2 cents:
As a waitress, i dont mind if people have 1 bite, decide they dont like it and send it back, thats 100% no skin off my nose at all...what sucks is when they have a few, and dont say anything until the bill comes and THEN start bitching about the food, cos then its impossible for me to do a goddamn thing about it. Thats when a waitress is likely to weep, and wail "im just trying to pay my bloody rent i cant be fucked with your shit"

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