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Bizarre delivery and takeout experiences


Fat Guy
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Like many New Yorkers I'm a major consumer of takeout and delivery cuisine. Most of the time it's a smooth process: you call up the place, put in your order, awhile later a guy (in 37 years, always a guy) brings the food, you pay, you eat. Occasionally there's an error -- the other day they sent two wonton soups and one egg-drop soup instead of one wonton soup and two egg-drop soups, and recently an order arrived minus one avocado maki. No big deal. But once in awhile something happens that's so bizarre, so unusual, so unexpected that it has "eG Forums post!" written all over it.

Not long ago, while my wife and son were out of town visiting the inlaws, I decided to indulge a craving for Atomic Wings. (This is a small Manhattan chain that I believe makes the best wings in town.) I got a double order of wings -- 20 wings -- which usually comes with two very little containers (I don't know the technical term for these squat clear plastic containers whose lids often pop off) of blue cheese dressing and a small sandwich-size bag of carrot and celery sticks. I usually ask for extra blue cheese, but forgot to do so.

Anyway . . . when the order arrived, the bag felt quite heavy. But the price was right and I figured maybe they threw in a couple of sodas or something (the Chinese places do this all the time). I untied the plastic bag and inside were two bags, each also tied, one much larger than the other -- so much larger it seemed ready to roll over and crush the smaller one. I untied the smaller one first and inside was a double order of wings. The other bag contained, according to my postal scale, 4 pounds 7 ounces of carrot and celery sticks -- and two very little containers of blue cheese dressing.

Now I'm not sure if you've ever seen 4 pounds 7 ounces of carrot and celery sticks. Let me assure you, it's a lot. A single pound would be a lot. Two pounds would be comically overwhelming. But 4 pounds 7 ounces -- it's way beyond anything my life experience up until that point had prepared me for.

Upon reflection, I'm thinking what happened was I got the carrots and celery that should have accompanied the "PARTY PLATTER (100 WINGS) $62." Although, even if I'd ordered 100 wings, I'd still have felt it was an overwhelming quantity of carrot and celery sticks. And it still doesn't explain why I only got two very little containers of blue cheese dressing. I suppose it will remain a mystery.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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:laugh:

steve, i had to laugh and immediately tell my husband this story as we were "regulars" with atomic wing delivery. this never happened to us, but we do agree that their wings are really good. an even better greasy meal is when you order the seasoned waffle fries and order extra blue cheese and horseradish sauce (which, unfortunately, it seems they changed the recipe to)!!!

good luck with four pounds of old water logged carrot and celery sticks!

edited to add: every time a post like this pops up, the homesickness sets in. no good hot wings in cupertino!

Edited by alanamoana (log)
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You didn't call and ask? I would have! Guess that's just me...

I've had strange things happen with take-out and always let them know--which-ever way it went--my favor or theirs. If it was your restaurant/franchise and someone was messing up orders, wouldn't you want to know?

I'm not in the restaurant biz, but I'd most certainly want to know about a problem in whatever business I happened to be in.

Deb

Liberty, MO

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alanamoana: I love those waffle-cut fries, but they don't hold up well under the stress of delivery. They can be brought somewhat back to life in the toaster oven, but you have to lay them flat on the tray in a single layer, which means you need to do it in about five batches -- and at that point the convenience of takeout food is substantially diminished.

Maison Rustique: When you call Atomic Wings, the moment the connection is established (usually after so many rings that you're sure they've closed down) you're blasted by the cacaphony of a busy twenty-something aging-frat-boy bar. Atomic Wings (at three out of its five locations, at least) doesn't operate standalone restaurants but, rather, operates concessions inside other people's bars. My local is "Atomic Wings @ Bar Costal." I'm really not sure there's ever a manager on duty to whom I could speak, or who would care. It's hard enough to communicate the order. I felt the carrot-and-celery incident was more of a humorous anecdote than a consumer issue that I'd bother to report to management. Maybe at the 5-pound mark I'd change my mind.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Oh my. It never even crossed my mind to make stock. I'm so incredibly stupid. I actually have a bag of several pounds of beef bones in the freezer. And there I was in possession of all those carrots and all that celery, for several days, and it never once occurred to me to make stock. Every day I ate a handful as snacks and never made a dent in the monolith. Eventually I threw them out. Shame on me.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Possible conversation at Fat Guy's local "Atomic Wings":

"Dude! This whole batch of carrot and celery sticks are, like, a day short of going biohazard! Get rid of these things or the Health Department's gonna have our ass in a sling!"

"But the dumpster is full up to the brim, man!"

"I don't give a shit, man! Do something with them! Hand 'em to a homeless guy! Hide 'em in the back of a taxi! Just get them the hell out of here, okay?"

:laugh:

(Probably in real life, they would have just handed 'em to the nearest homeless guy, but hey, I can fantasize, can't I? :laugh: )

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Steven, I can't comment on bizarre takeout and delivery experiences because it just isn't the same here on the prairie. Any place I'd go for takeout is a walk away.

But I laughed about your celery/carrot conundrum and was jealous that you've shed the cubicle. I would have bought a bucket of Dean's Cajun Ranch Dip and taken the veg and dip to work.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I too am a New Yorker and am guilty of frequenting take out places when I'm too lazy or tired to cook.

I've had the occasional strange hair in my food which has turned me off from that place.

I've also received orders meant for other people. Hubby and I ordered from a local pizza shop and got container of rice balls that we didn't order. We happily scarfed them down.

A particular pet peeve of my husband's is when he'll ask for and order Sunkist orange soda. Everything is cool until the order shows up and there's an orange Slice or Tropicana soda in the bag. My husband is EXTREMELY anal about his orange soda preference (Sunkist), so it peeves him to no end when a clueless store employee substitutes an inferior brand of orange soda after confirming that they have Sunkist. In his mind, not all orange sodas are created equal. :laugh:

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Oh my. It never even crossed my mind to make stock. I'm so incredibly stupid. I actually have a bag of several pounds of beef bones in the freezer. And there I was in possession of all those carrots and all that celery, for several days, and it never once occurred to me to make stock. Every day I ate a handful as snacks and never made a dent in the monolith. Eventually I threw them out. Shame on me.

Order some more wings.

:wink:

Edited by jsmeeker (log)

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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Thanks Rich and everyone..

I wish I had a madolin.. I am missing crucial items in my house.. I dont have a ricer, I dont have a madolin, I dont have a colander, my pizza stone just broke.. But, I just got this razor sharp Kershaw for my bday..   With this knife we were able to cut the potatoes with out too much trouble.. I dont really know how thick they were.. Maybe a little smaller then 1/8..You could see light coming through them..

About 5 years ago I caught my delivery guy urinating in the stairwell of my building.. Thts a bizarre delivery experience.. My doorman buzzed me and told me he was coming.. I waited outed in the hall and watched him walk in the stairwell.. I walked after him to find him peeing..

Recently when having some people over I had hired a few people to help with the party.. One was this cute Spanish girl who spoke no English.. I am friendly with one of the delivery guys from the grocery store.. So when he came by to deliver more beer, I introduced the two of them.. He hung out and had some ceviche, had a beer and got her number.. I didnt find out the end result..

These are a couple that come to mind.

Edit to add:

I delivered for this Italian Restaurant in College Park Maryland and for this CHeesesteak Place.. Delivering cheesesteaks and pizza to college kids, while in College.. I could write a book about that..

Edited by Daniel (log)
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I don't know how bizzare this would be, but speaking of college pizza deliveries, one of the pizza places in my college town was owned by Born-again Christians. With each pizza delivery, you were given a "Bible Question." If you got the question correct, you'd win a free pizza.

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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two very little containers (I don't know the technical term for these squat clear plastic containers whose lids often pop off)

I think they are called Portion Cups.

Anyway, when I was in College and living in Long Beach, CA, I worked for a delivery place called Entree Express. They delivered for numerous area restaurants.

There was one older guy who lived in Seal Beach who ordered regularly. He always answered the door wearing a shirt and white briefs. No pants.

That was gross.

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I started reading this thread yesterday...I did not reply at first - I wanted some time to think over my most bizarre delivery or takeout experiece. Although I don't live in NY, I do live in the heart of Chicago, so my fiance and I too order a lot of delivery...takeout if its close and Greg (fiance) isn't being lazy, and will move his butt to pick it up!

Here is what I have:

1.) Ordered food from a local chinese joint, was told it would be 40 mins or so.

After waiting all of 70 mins, I called in...they told me that someone accepted and signed for it. I lived in an apartment at the time, on Belmost and Sheffield (for any of you locals who know the chicago whereabouts), and you need a key to get in to the apartment - each floor has 4 units (apartments), and once your in you can take the elevator up to our old floor, which was three. Here's the story, someone was coming in when the delivery guy was, or was getting thier mail downstairs o r whatever. They saw the food, and decided "yum, that looks great....hmmm...looks like I just ordered my some takeout". They acted like they were the caller (me, Lindsay), and signed the recipe. I paid by credit card...and all the delivery guy did was make them sign...no ID check or card swipe. I was livid...of course I am a nice and understanding girl, the restaurant felt horrible and sent another order over asap. They gave me jumbo sizes of everything I had ordered, extra rice and cookies, free pops, free eggrolls a nd crab ragoons (score!!! My favorite!!!), and I only paid for the ONE, original order.

Since then, they changed thier policy. Now, when paying with credit card they make you show the card and they copy it at the time of delivery. Of course, I enjoyed my chicken egg foo young, crab ragoons, wonton soup and fried rice even more that evening...partially because by the time I actually got it (about 2.5 hours after I ordered it) I was about to knaw (sp???) my arm off!!!

"One Hundred Years From Now It Will Not Matter What My Bank Account Was, What Kind of House I lived in, or What Kind of Car I Drove, But the World May Be A Better Place Because I Was Important in the Life of A Child."

LIFES PHILOSOPHY: Love, Live, Laugh

hmmm - as it appears if you are eating good food with the ones you love you will be living life to its fullest, surely laughing and smiling throughout!!!

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hmmm. I have so many. God i'm lazy.

My twin sister has ordered the same thing as me (exact) at the same time of day from the same building and the restaurant has called to confirm my two orders "wha?, no no cancel that second order, you have it all wrong" the next day I usually realise what may have happened...

I've been hit on on numerous occasions, and terrified on a few (Hello Golden Krust) Overtipped for cute guys (Tea and Sympathy)

Whe I used to order from Joe jr, the guy was always gruff, typical diner style

"helooooz zjoe joonyour!"

"um hi I'll"

"address!"

"uh blah blah b-"

"your order"

" rare cheddar burger delux no lettuce grilled tomatoes"

click. (he'd hang up)

My old roomate couldn't adjust to the system and would never get an order in. The guy would get pissed off at her and hang up (she was abnoxious) :smile:

does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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Telephone interactions are fertile ground for bizarre takeout and delivery stories. I'm sure I've told the story of the time, when I was practicing big-firm litigation, that two of my paralegals and I knew we were looking at a solid week of all-nighters or at least extremely late nights preparing findings of fact and conclusions of law for one of these trial-of-the-century cases. The firm had accounts with a number of restaurants, and if you worked late you could bill dinner, so we decided, after counting the options, that if we ordered something like three times as much food as we could eat each night, we could in the space of a week sample every item on the menu at the Carnegie Deli.

I'm reasonably certain we're the only consumers in history to attempt this experiment -- certainly we're the only ones ever to complete and survive it. Every night, the food would come -- Carnegie delivers until 4am or at least did at that time -- and every night we'd eat maybe a third of it and give the rest to the overnight word processing staff. The food would get delivered, usually, in two cartons -- like the size you'd use to archive legal size file folders. About half of one box would always be filled with plates, forks, napkins and condiments. Carnegie was operating under the assumption that we had ordered food for a dozen people.

After a few nights of this, the woman who took the orders finally asked me, "How many people is this for?" When I told her it was for three people, she said, "Mr. Shaw, if you don't mind my saying, yous guys is pigs!"

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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....The firm had accounts with a number of restaurants, and if you worked late you could bill dinner, so we decided, after counting the options, that if we ordered something like three times as much food as we could eat each night, we could in the space of a week sample every item on the menu at the Carnegie Deli.

:laugh: Great story!

Can I assume you eschewed the mundane on the Carnegie menu like cinnamon toast and cold cereal?

What did you consider their best and worst menu items?

 

“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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Cold cereal no; toast yes. We had everything they cook or manipulate in any way; we skipped the few packaged items that they simply resell without alteration.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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My delivery story is probably pathetic, but here goes...

When we have Chinese food, we order from two different restaurants, since neither of us can tolerate the food from the other's preferred restaurant (the choices are "horrible", and "hideous", so we each pick a poison) and I always ask the doorman not to let them come up at the same time if they should arrive overlapping (one place is a mile west of here, the other east of here, and without fail they both come within minutes, if not seconds of each other). Well, one day the delivery people met in the lobby while announcing themselves to the doorman. The first guy didn't care, but the other guy did, quite a bit. When he came to my door, he looked truly hurt, and he asked me with a very sad face "did you order from another Chinese restaurant too?", so I explained that there were two of us, and yes we did. Well, the result of this is that his restaurant started sending us all manner of free items - things that at one point I used to order (like shrimp toast) which I don't anymore just for reasons of cutting down on grease, and they always throw in something else as well - like those fried "pretend" scallops.

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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Kevin and I have taken to some maniacal experiments in cheesemaking lately -- to the point where we put in a THIRD fridge in our apartment (one in the kitchen for the daily stuff, a wine fridge, and then the third kept at 55 degrees for beer- and cheese-making).

With the latest heat wave and a bout of complete and total laziness, we opted to have grocery delivered including 10 gallons of whole milk (why not have someone else carry them up to our fifth floor apartment instead of us)? Thinking ahead, we added a handful of other heavy items; a box of kitty litter, a case of Pelegrino, a re-stocking of our liquor cabinet, a bag of potatoes and onions, etc...

The 40-something woman arrived with our order. She's normally a weekend firefighter helping out her girlfriend with the deliveries and was terribly curious why someone would need 10 gallons of milk. She stayed a while, had a bottle of our home brew, and indicated a desire to come back and taste our cheese... I guess they were too curious to check our order as we also got some un-ordered bananas and yams!

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from the other side of the counter:

i used to work at my parents' restaurant (chinese food), and one night a guy called to order teriyaki beef. i told him we don't carry teriyaki beef, since that is a japanese dish, and we're a chinese restaurant. but he insisted that we had teriyaki beef, and that he ordered it there before. and so i told him that we don't have teriyaki beef, and we've NEVER had teriyaki beef. he responded that we definitely did, and he was going to come over and prove it.

20 minutes later, the guy walked in, and pored over the menu, trying to find the teriyaki beef. he never found it.

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I like it when you order Chinese food deliver sometimes and you get somone else's order instead -- and you get exposed to a dish on the menu that you've never ordered before and you end up liking it.

I find that with Chinese takeout or delivery, you get stuck in a "rut" of ordering the same crap over and over again... and unless you get something else by accident, or do a George Costanza where you order the opposite of what you normally order, you get incredibly bored. There has to be an intervening force to make you change your habits.

I think we should come up with a website where you put in your Chinese food order, an it gives you the exact opposite of what you ordered. Then you order that instead.

Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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We used to order from a Chinese place called Hunan K, until it closed without warning back in '02.

The delivery guy always came up the stairs (my apartment door is at the top of a flight of stairs) laughing. "Ha ha ha ha, hello how are you sir. Ha ha ha ha ha. Ten ninety five. Ha ha ha ha ha. Thank you very much have nice day. Ha ha ha ha ha." We came to refer to him as "the guy with the maniac laugh."

Once I was walking on Park Avenue and the guy with the maniac laugh rode past me on his bicycle. As soon as I registered in his consciousness, he slammed on his brakes. "Ha ha ha ha ha. Hello sir! Ha ha ha ha." And then he observed, with existential flair, "You on the street! Ha ha ha ha ha."

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Guess this isn't TOO strange, but when I was living in Mpls going to college I had a pizza delivery driver actually buy a piece of pizza BACK from me because he was hungry. Weird, but maybe he'd just started his shift and hadn't been able to eat between deliveries yet.

Jerry

Kansas City, Mo.

Unsaved Loved Ones

My eG Food Blog- 2011

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