You know the scam. Whine about perfectly good food to get some sort of comp.
In their old age, my parents befriended another older couple who would pull this stunt everywhere they went. After my mother told me a few stories about how their new friends had shown them how to get discounted or free meals, I felt like I was suddenly the responsible adult, concerned about the bad influence these people were on my parents.
While visiting my parents with my girlfriend, this other couple attended dinner with us. As I expected, the food was brought to the table, and they immediately began dramatically complaining to one another about the quality/taste/temperature/etc. They were making a scene in order to attract the attention of the waitress. When our waitress returned to ask how we were doing, the miserable old bastard who played the lead role in their act took a deep breath, struck a dramatic pose (with his hand raised to begin gesticulating for emphasis) and began–I leaned forward and cut him off before he could finish the first word: “Everything is absolutely fantastic. It’s all great! Thank you very much!” She smiled, and began her obligatory “Great, well if you need any–” when he made a second attempt. “We come here all the time and–.” I didn’t acknowledge that he was speaking at all, repeated that all was just as we ordered and thanked her again.
He was stunned and thrown off from his routine by my interruption. During this pause, the waitress walked away (It seemed clear that she knew what they were trying to accomplish). He turned bright red. I turned to my girlfriend and, smiling and without lowering my voice, stated how pitiful it is that some people could be dishonest, deceitful and put at risk the livelihood of a cook, server or hostess for a pathetic discount or a free early-bird special. My passive-aggressive reverse-parenting broke my parents of the habit in short time.
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