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stupid things customers say


detlefchef
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food allergies are very serious business,  and I can't stand when people either:  1. lie about them or 2. don't inform us!

At an old job we served a chicken salad with apples and walnuts.  Customer freaked when he saw nuts in his salad.  fuh-reaked.  I was incredulous,  why on earth didn't he TELL us nuts would kill him??    and he thought I had an attitude because I was was rather freaked myself.  Nuts or nut oil could be in so very many things that don't list "Nuts" on the menu.

And at current job we have a delicious chopped chicken vegetable salad.    A customer calls,  said she's just been in for lunch and was throwing up because she was allergic to the mushrooms in the salad and didn't think she should have had to pay for it.  She wondered why the waiter didn't TELL her that there were mushrooms in the salad.  I wondered silently why she didn't ASK if she was allergic as we don't list all the ingredients in the salad,  but shit,  if I was allergic to anything,  i'd ASK...does this salad have mushrooms or walnuts in it??

So...I don't argue at all with the customer,  find her cc receipt and refund back the amount of the salad,  no big deal.  But oddly enough,  this exchange puts me in the mood for one of those salads so I order one.    I sit down to eat it and i look at it and it's just so obviously filled with mushrooms,  I can't imagine how that woman didn't have a clue before she took her first bite (she was also sitting outside in the bright sunshine,  not like it was a dimly lit dining room.)  Then I realize the wording of her call,  that she was allergic to the mushrooms in the salad.  so she knew the mushrooms were there and ate it anyway?  Or realized after she ate them and didn't say anything at the time? 

It just disturbs me that someone might go that far for a free lunch.

From a legal perspective, I think case law indicates that if you order something that is by definition a melange (such as chili, salad, lasagna) without asking about the ingredients or requesting special treatment, you're (in essence) taking your life in your own hands. In other words, if it were to go to trial or settlement, the patron would be in the wrong in the above case.

I think. I'm not a lawyer, so I'm not positive, but I remember reading something to this effect...

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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I have a number of food sensitivities, not allergies, though. There is something in French onion soup that makes my throat close up. I don't have any problem with cheese, bread, or onions, so it can be a puzzler. I think there may be small amounts of something in the broth that can affect me.

On the other hand, I feel responsible for my own strange reaction. If something is going to bother me--or kill me--I think I should be keeping an eye out for it. It's a different story if you carefully question the waiter about ingredients and they don't inform you of something potentially dangerous, like nuts.

I don't think you can assume someone is lying when they say they are allergic to soup. I know it sounds a bit far-fetched, but it's really impossible to know how it affects them. Odds are it's not a real allergy, since those are relatively rare, but it can still be a problem.

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Odds are it's not a real allergy, since those are relatively rare, but it can still be a problem.

Food allergies are on the rise unfortunately. More and more kids are being diagnosed with them, and those kids grow up fast.

When we dine out with our kids, we make sure it's at restaurants we're familiar with, and I either call ahead to ask about certain menu items, or notify the server when we get seated.

Normally we stick with chain restaurants with the kids (ugh) because they tend to use uniform ingredients.

As a general rule, we avoid salads and soups unless they can present a list of ingredients.

Cheryl

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It's a different story if you carefully question the waiter about ingredients and they don't inform you of something potentially dangerous, like nuts.

Absolutely - then they're just being careless or stupid - or both.

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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i myself have a mild allergy to lima beans..not severe..it just tends to cause that closing of the throat sensation..but again relatively mild..certainly not life threatening unless im dumb enough to eat them in large amounts...fortunately they are not something i see very often in restaurants and if i do happen to see one..i know that there are others and since the reaction is relativley mild..its no big deal to pick them out and put them off to the side..however if you do have an allergy to something and it is potentially life threatening..there is no shame in asking your waiter if what your allergic to may be contained in what it is you want...if its something you just dont like..dont order it..simple as that....

i do need to add though that there have been several times in the last year when my finace has asked a waiter what is in a dish he may be ordering..not becuase he is allergic to what might be in it..though he himslef does have some mild food allergies..but rather he asks because he is genuinely interested in hwo it is prepared and what is in it..only to have the waiter not be able to tell him anything about what went in to the dish..now if someone with a severe allergy to something asked that same waiter whats in it and the waiter cant tell that person..then there is a problem..which brings up another question i have no answer for...

when a waiter cant tell you what is in a dish and you definitly have an allergy...is it permissable to ask to see the chef..who obviously has the knowledge since its highly likley he or she makes it or at least oversees the making of a particular dish?

a recipe is merely a suggestion

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ihen a waiter cant tell you what is in a dish and you definitly have an allergy...is it permissable  to ask to see the chef..who obviously has the knowledge since its highly likley he or she makes it or at least oversees the making of a particular dish?

More restaurants than not have a "Kitchen Manager" rather than a Chef, unless you almost exclusively dine on the upper end. But this is a good thing, as Kitchen Managers make sure that a recipe book is maintained and followed during all prep, whereas Chefs tend to be more secretive about their recipes.

Any good server should be able to tell you most of the ingredients in any dish sold, and for that 20% of ingredients that he or she won't know, a quick query to the back of the house should answer any questions.

If you don't get a confident answer, based on an allergy question, from either your server or a manager, within a relatively short period of time, and the allergy concerned is serious enough to send someone to a hospital, I'd suggest getting up and going somewhere else.

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We serve a small side of homemade pasta salad with our sandwiches. A customer asked if she could substitute french fries. I apologetically replied that she couldn't. She was visibly upset but seemed to let it go as I took her partner's order. But she couldn't let go... "why can't I substitute, potatoes are cheaper than pasta?!" [we use an expensive frozen fry which is fried in an incredibly expensive ventless fryer.]

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Cabbage, chopsticks, chorizo........

this ignorant loutish behavior reminds me of what my late cousin Marc once said:

"Science has discovered that there is, indeed, a limit to human intelligence.

Alas, there is no limit to human ignorance!"

x marlena

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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A woman flagged me down at my restaurant recently to ask whether there were any shrimp in the appetizers she was consuming (including two crab dishes). She had started to develop a rash, and thought maybe her allergy to shrimp had been ignited. There were no traces of shrimp in the items she was eating, but it bothered me that she would not have asked before-hand, to aviod such a situation. We take allergies very seriously (even fictitious ones). I'd recommend against any place that doesn't.

On a lighter note, someone asked me last week if basil was a carb. Yes, at least they asked.

Edited by raxelita (log)

Drink maker, heart taker!

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We serve a small side of homemade pasta salad with our sandwiches.  A customer asked if she could substitute french fries.  I apologetically replied that she couldn't.  She was visibly upset but seemed to let it go as I took her partner's order.  But she couldn't let go... "why can't I substitute, potatoes are cheaper than pasta?!"  [we use an expensive frozen fry which is fried in an incredibly expensive ventless fryer.]

i would love to tell her she could go home and fry them for 10 cents herself and grease up her own stove..i hate when people count other peoples money

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I had a guest recently tell me she was allergic to curry. I tried to explain to her that it i not possible to be allergic to curry as it is a blend of several spices. No no she says curry is a power made from grinding curry leaves. now normally I would leave it a t that but if it is cumin in the curry she is allergic to and I use it somewhere in her menu she is still going to have a reaction.

Actually, there is such an herb called curry leaves. I had no idea it existed either.

This weekend on PBS, Indian chef and cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey was on an episode of Julia Child's last cooking series. During the show she cooked with curry leaves. In the U.S., she said they are grown in Florida.

Turns out that the leaves are used quite a bit in Indian cooking and sometimes Vietnamese cooking, too.

Go figure.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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I had a guest recently tell me she was allergic to curry. I tried to explain to her that it i not possible to be allergic to curry as it is a blend of several spices. No no she says curry is a power made from grinding curry leaves. now normally I would leave it a t that but if it is cumin in the curry she is allergic to and I use it somewhere in her menu she is still going to have a reaction.

Actually, there is such an herb called curry leaves. I had no idea it existed either.

This weekend on PBS, Indian chef and cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey was on an episode of Julia Child's last cooking series. During the show she cooked with curry leaves. In the U.S., she said they are grown in Florida.

Turns out that the leaves are used quite a bit in Indian cooking and sometimes Vietnamese cooking, too.

Go figure.

curry leaves (murraya koenigii) are widely used in south indian

cooking, but are never an element of "curry" powder, which

most indian cooking rarely uses ....

milagai

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On a lighter note, someone asked me last week if basil was a carb. Yes, at least they asked.

Well, "herb" in American English is "erb"; maybe someone pronounced "carb" that way, you know, "arb," and that kinda sounds like "erb."

Or, then again, maybe not.

:huh:

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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On a lighter note, someone asked me last week if basil was a carb. Yes, at least they asked.

Well, "herb" in American English is "erb"; maybe someone pronounced "carb" that way, you know, "arb," and that kinda sounds like "erb."

Or, then again, maybe not.

:huh:

The question was followed by "I'm on Atkins..."

Drink maker, heart taker!

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On a lighter note, someone asked me last week if basil was a carb. Yes, at least they asked.

Well, "herb" in American English is "erb"; maybe someone pronounced "carb" that way, you know, "arb," and that kinda sounds like "erb."

Or, then again, maybe not.

:huh:

The question was followed by "I'm on Atkins..."

An Atkins story related to me by a server from another restaurant:

Customer orders the steak and potatoes and says: "I'm on Atkins, so can you hold the potatoes and add extra steak?".

Yeah, right. :blink:

Mark

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Thank you for my first belly laugh of the day.

On a lighter note, someone asked me last week if basil was a carb. Yes, at least they asked.

Well, "herb" in American English is "erb"; maybe someone pronounced "carb" that way, you know, "arb," and that kinda sounds like "erb."

Or, then again, maybe not.

:huh:

The question was followed by "I'm on Atkins..."

An Atkins story related to me by a server from another restaurant:

Customer orders the steak and potatoes and says: "I'm on Atkins, so can you hold the potatoes and add extra steak?".

Yeah, right. :blink:

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Another Favourite: After constructing a meal for a "Vegan" which contained fresh corn and sending it out....and this was many years before the Atkins craze came about..... it got sent back. I asked what was wrong. I got told: "the woman at the table says she's VEGAN, and that VEGANS don't eat corn because they are a STARCH, not a VEGETABLE!"

This is one of the few times that I have ever been at a loss for words. I just shook my head and made her something else.

And yes, I was seeing who would catch that above. :biggrin:

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Another Favourite:  After constructing a meal for a "Vegan" which contained fresh corn and sending it out....and this was many years before the Atkins craze came about..... it got sent back.  I asked what was wrong.  I got told:  "the woman at the table says she's VEGAN, and that VEGANS don't eat corn because they are a STARCH, not a VEGETABLE!" 

This is one of the few times that I have ever been at a loss for words.  I just shook my head and made her something else.

And yes, I was seeing who would catch that above.  :biggrin:

No way. NO way. That is...ridiculous.

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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