Customer Rudely Tried To Blame Waitress For Hair Found In Food

(I’m working late on a Friday night. Two men and a woman are seated at one of the tables in my section. They proceed to order mixed drinks with “upsell” (more expensive) liquors, appetizers, and racks of ribs. All in all, a rather pricey check for our chain restaurant. After I’d brought out the racks of ribs:)

Customer #1: “She’d like to add a side of broccoli with her ribs, with melted cheese on it.”

Me: “Of course. The extra side dish is about $2.69.”

Customer #1: “That’s fine.”

(The kitchen whips up the side dish very quickly: a mound of broccoli with fresh, gleaming, melted cheddar over the top. I take the plate out to the table, drop it off, fill up some drinks at the next table over, and return to my section in about three minutes to check that everything is going well. The plate with the broccoli is at the edge of the table, with a long black hair embedded into the cheese. The hair is easily eight inches long, and there is no way on the planet I would’ve missed it or brought it out of the kitchen if it had happened there. Frankly, it looked so revolting that I didn’t want to be the one that had to pick it up and take it back!)

Customer #1: “We want to return this because it’s got a hair in it.”

(Both of the men are clearly trying not to laugh, and the woman just looks at me like they think they are all very clever.)

Me: “Well, I’m very sorry to see that, sir. Do you want another side dish of broccoli to replace this, or just have it removed from your check?”

Customer #1: “No… no, we don’t. Look… can we talk to your manager?”

Me: “Certainly, sir.”

(I give them a bright smile and go to find my manager in the kitchen to show him the side dish before he goes to talk to them. Our manager laughs.)

Manager: “Where did THAT come from?”

(I explain. The manager looks around the kitchen and laughs again. He has short, salt-n-pepper hair. Our head cook is bald, and our other cook has short, curly red hair. My hair, also trimmed around ear-length, is red, and the only other waiter on at that point of the night wears his hair cut, in short, bleached-blond spikes.)

Manager: “Some people… Look, don’t worry; I’ll go talk to them.”

(He returns in a couple of minutes and explains he is taking the side dish ($2.69) off the check, but nothing else, and that he’d made that clear to the customers. The customers decide they don’t want dessert, and pay the bill (about $78) with cash and leave me a $2 tip, making sure to make a point of reminding me that the hair in their broccoli had been gross and that they don’t plan to return. Once the trio has left, one of the pairs of elderly women sitting in one of the booths in my section calls me over.)

Lady: “I saw the whole thing! That man reached over and plucked one of the hairs off her head and stuck it in the food! They were laughing about it the whole time! I hope you didn’t get in trouble.”

Me: “No, ma’am, I didn’t. You see, nobody in our kitchen tonight has hair anything like they ‘found’ in the food, so they didn’t get away with anything more than having that single extra side dish taken off their check.”

Lady: “Well, good! I don’t know what’s with these young people today, trying to pull a fast one on hard-working people!”

(It was charming how indignant she was! I gave them their dessert teas for free for her honesty, and she ended up tipping me $15 on her $27 meal.)

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