Category: Food & Drink


Selling Under The Influence

| Barrie, ON, Canada | Bad Behavior, Food & Drink, Transportation

(I’m stopping at a liquor store with a couple friends to get drinks for the evening. There’s a woman handing out samples as we enter.)

Sample Woman: “Would you like to try some [Brand] vodka?”

Me: “No, thanks, I still have to drive home.”

Sample Woman: “It’s only a little bit…”

(I was taken aback by this, as it didn’t seem to fit the idea of responsible drinking. I realized that it wouldn’t be enough to get me drunk but the thought that someone would still offer alcohol to someone who just said they were driving astounds me. I spoke to the manager and he brushed it off as not a big deal. In hindsight it may have been an overreaction on my part but something still wasn’t right about it.)


H2-Slow, Part 2

| York, England, UK | Employees, Extra Stupid, Food & Drink

(I’m ordering lunch in a greasy take-away, but as I don’t like fizzy drinks I usually order a bottle of water with the meal deal instead of the cup of fizzy drink.)

Me: “Hi, I’d like the two-piece chicken meal with a bottle of water, please.”

Cashier: “We don’t serve bottles with the meal deal, only the cups.”

Me: *thinking they might now have a water dispenser, or are serving tap water* “Oh, okay. I’ll have a cup of water, then?”

Cashier: *proceeds to start filling a cup with [Soda #1] from the machine*

Me: “Uh, no. Not [Soda #1], water.”

Cashier: “We don’t do water, only [Soda #1].”

Me: “What? Yes, you do! You’ve got bottles of water in there!” *points to the fridge where the water bottles are plainly visible*

Cashier: *takes out a bottle of [Soda #1]* “No, see? It’s [Soda #1].”

Me: *pointing and getting exasperated* “NO, the WATER is THERE, above it!”

Cashier: “But… water is [Soda #2]?”

Me: *dumbfounded staring*

Cashier: *realisation hits* “OH! You want WATER!” *gets me a bottle of water*

(I have no idea what the confusion was about, as we both pronounced water the same way. I can only assume he was having a long day and isn’t used to people ordering water with their greasy food.)




Got That Gar-Licked

| Berlin, Germany | Food & Drink, Language & Words

(My boyfriend and I are on holidays in Berlin. We decide to stop for lunch in a Mexican restaurant along the way. Our server speaks a bit of English, but not too much. We are giving our order when this happens:)

Boyfriend: “Oh, and I’m allergic to garlic. Is there any garlic in [plate]?”

Server: *puzzled* “…garlic?”

Boyfriend: “You know, it’s kinda like an onion but smaller… err…”

(He looks at me. I quickly sketch a some garlic on a piece of paper and show it to the server.)

Server: “I’m sorry, I don’t… uhm…”

Me: “Oh! Oh, I know! It’s the thing you use to keep vampires away!”

Server: *smiling widely* “Ooh, I know it! I’ll go and ask!”

(No garlic was found in our food, and she happily smiled at us when we left. I never thought I’d end up playing charades while ordering food!)


Can’t Figure Out What’s Cooking

| Incheon, South Korea | Bizarre/Silly, Food & Drink

(I am working for a conversation school in Korea and living in apartments provided by my employers, a husband and wife couple. One day they come over for a visit. It goes pleasantly enough and they leave. Later, the guy who did a lot of the translating for us comes up to me.)

Coworker: “Hey, do you have a rice cooker?”

Me: *a little confused* “Why?”

Coworker: “[Bosses] saw your bucket of rice and couldn’t see one.”

Me: “I don’t have one.”

Coworker: “Then how do you cook rice?”

Me: “I have a stove and pots.”

Coworker: *looks confused for a moment and then realizes* “Oh! You actually COOK rice.”

Me: “Well, sometimes I burn it.”

(Apparently they had spent a lot of the visit trying to find my nonexistent rice cooker without rudely going through my things.)


Owner Owning Up

| Denver, CO, USA | Awesome Workers, Bosses & Owners, Food & Drink

(My wife and I are at a work conference in Denver. On our way out of town, we stop at a little cafe to have an early lunch. The place is empty, and it seems like there is only one waitress and a cook in the whole place. The kitchen is open so you can watch the guy walking around. The waitress is pleasant and brings us our drinks promptly, and takes our orders.)

Wife: “I’ll have the [Burger] with fries.”

Me: “I’ll have the pastrami sandwich with fries.”

Waitress: “I’ll get that started for you. Anything else I can get you in the meantime?”

Us: “No, thanks.”

(As we wait, we can overhear the cook talking animatedly on the phone, though we can’t really tell what he is saying. He puts our order on the counter, lets the waitress know, takes off his apron, and walks out the back. The waitress brings us our food and everything looks all right. The waitress leaves and we start eating.)

Wife: “These fries are kinda overdone.”

Me: “They are pretty crispy…”

(I dig around and see that the deeper I go, the more well done they are.)

Me: “Actually, these are burnt.”

(My wife digs into her pile to find the same is true.)

Me: “I don’t know? Is it worth sending them back? You know how much I hate making a scene or wasting food.”

Wife: “These are beyond ‘oops they are a little overdone.’ They are so hard they are actually painful to eat, and taste terrible. Let’s just ask the waitress what she can do about it. We don’t have to yell at her; just be polite and ask what she can do about it.”

(I waive over the waitress.)

Me: “These fries are really kinda burnt. Is there something you can do about it?”

Waitress: *grabs a fry off my plate and examines it* “I’m so sorry, these are inedible. I’ll get another batch for you right away, and I’ll cook them myself.” *as she’s walking away she mumbles to herself* “I thought I heard him say something about ‘not too overdone; oh, well.’ I should have known.”

(In record time the waitress has returned with lovely fries.)

Waitress: “Here you are. Again, sorry about that. We’re a little short today, and the cook is trying to handle too many things at once. But he should know better.”

Me: “No worries, I understand. Mistakes happen. Thank you for fixing the situation.”

Waitress: *goes into the back*

(We eat a while longer, and everything is pleasant until I get to the second half of my sandwich.)

Me: “What the hell? The second half of my sandwich is ham, wrapped in a single slice of pastrami so you can’t see it until you bite into it.”

Wife: “Seriously?”

Me: “Yeah, look…”

Wife: “It’s a good thing you aren’t Jewish, or, you know, allergic to pork like me.”

Me: “I can’t believe they would do that… It still tastes good, so I’m going to eat it anyway, but I think I should talk to the waitress about it.”

Wife: “You should.”

Me: “I think I’ll wait till after we’re done and have paid. I don’t want to give the impression that I am looking for free food.”

(We finish eating, ask the waitress for the check, pay, get the receipt back, and have signed it.)

Me: *to waitress as she is clearing the table* “Can I talk to you about something quickly?”

Waitress: “Yeah, what’s up?”

Me: “I just wanted to give you some words to take back to the cook. If you run out of pastrami, let the customer know, and ask them if they are cool with a ham substitution, or if they’d rather have something else. If you burn the fries, own it and make a new batch before you send them out to—”

Waitress: *cuts me off* “Did your sandwich have ham on it?”

Me: “Yes.”

Waitress: “Hang on one sec. I’m gonna grab the cook.”

(She calls over the cook who has recently re-entered the building.)

Owner/Cook: “Hey, I’m [Cook], the owner of [Cafe]. What can I do for you?”

Me: “Hi, [Cook]. I just wanted to give you a couple pieces of friendly advice. If you run out of pastrami, don’t sub ham without asking. It wasn’t a big deal for me, but my wife is allergic and it could have been a serious situation. If you burn fries, own it, and remake them before the customer sees it. If you get a reputation for trying to slip things in ‘unnoticed’ and only fixing them if someone complains, you will go out of business. In a cafe, your food needs to speak for itself, and if you have to redo things all the time because of simple mistakes like burning the fries, you won’t last long. I’m not after anything; I ran my own business for years, and I just want to see other small business owners do well for themselves. And this wasn’t exactly a gold star for you. However…” *points to waitress* “She was your saving grace. Whatever you are paying her, she deserves a raise because she was on point during our whole visit. If she hadn’t been so polite and helpful, I might have just left and let you stumble along.”

Owner/Cook: *shocked look on his face* “I… I… You’re right. I’m sorry. You nailed it on every point. I ran out of pastrami, and didn’t feel I had time, so I fudged it. I burnt the fries but thought I might be able to get away with it, cause they weren’t black. Thank you for calling me on the carpet. I really appreciate you taking the time to say something polite and that you showed an interest in my business, not just your own lunch. [Waitress], their meal is on me.”

Me: “As I said, I’m not after anything in this situation. We both ate our food, and have already paid.”

Owner: “No, not good enough! [Waitress], go reverse the charge on the card!”

(She walks away.)

Owner: “I already pay her more than any of my other staff because she is the best. But you’re right, she probably deserves more.”

Me: “Well, why don’t we forget the reversal of charges and you can give the whole cost of the meal to her as a tip directly?”

(Before he can answer, the waitress returns with a reversal slip.)

Owner: “Too late. It’s on the house!”

(We chat with him for another ten minutes and enjoy it. As we stand to leave I pull the cost of the meal in cash out of my wallet and leave it under my water glass. As I walk out past the waitress:)

Me: “I left a little something on the table for you.”

Waitress: “Thank you so much for talking to the owner. I’ve never seen him react like that with anyone before. He usually gets upset!”