Chewbacca Ate Here

One time (not at band camp) this kinda skanky family of three came in. The mom and dad looked like your average trailer dwelling wrestling fans and the twenty something daughter had long, unkempt blond and brown and red hair. Not streaks of blond and brown and red mind you–it looked like a big wooly batch of Neapolitan ice cream hair.

They go to the same SuperClips

When we were going over the menu, they said this was their first time. At first I thought they meant this was their first time at this particular restaurant but it didn’t take me long to conclude that perhaps this was their first time eating at any restaurant. In fact, I would venture to guess that this was the first time in a long time that they had sallied forth from their manufactured home community for anything other than a pack of Marlboro lights, crystal meth, or to cash their government tit check. I was wrong, but hey everybody makes mistakes.

They all ordered a popular chicken dish that everyone likes and they enjoyed it and everybody was all smiles up until the point they started to get full. That’s when the dad flagged me down from the other side of the dining room with angry hand motions that ended with him pointing his finger down to the table in much the same way one would beckon a naughty dog who had just pooped on the couch cushion and needed to have his nose rubbed in it.

Since everything had been going so eerily well up to this point and we were such good friends so far I dreaded finding out what had changed. I walked to the table at not-quite-maximum speed and smiled and politely asked ‘Hey, what’s up?’

They pushed the daughter’s plate towards the end of the table and the dad asked ‘Do you SEE that?’

I couldn’t and said that I was sorry but I couldn’t see what they were talking about in the dim light.

‘PUT OUT YER HAND!’

Normally I wouldn’t but I did just out of curiosity. In it, he placed a long hair.

‘It’s a HAIR! That’s so G R O S S ! ! !’ shouted the daughter, Chewbecca.

I found a hair in my pan-seared Womp Rat! Gross!

‘Very sorry about that’ I said and used a standard recovery line of mine ‘Well at least you know it’s not mine.’ (there’s a pic of me on this blog somewhere–you’ll get it) Then I excused myself and told them to let me see what I could do.

I got to the back and looked at it under the light. My first thought was that since a customer found a hair in their food we would have to comp something in order for them to leave happy, which is standard operating in most restaurants. Then I took a closer look at it. It was a long strand of–you guessed it–bleach blond, trashy red, and dirt brown hair. I got to looking around in the BOH and thinking about it. Not one person on our kitchen staff had hair like that. The only blond chick in the FOH didn’t have hair that long or that frizzy. None of our suppliers or vendors had hair like that. It could have come from only one source: Chewbecca.

I suspected I probably wasn’t going to get a tip anyway. According to this table we had committed the inexcusable offense of serving food in which a nasty/disgusting/GROSS/horrifying/dirty hair had found its way onto,and clearly that was my fault. I mean how can people serve food when there’s so much nasty HAIR around? Gross.

What they expected me to say when I got back to the table was this: ‘We are all so truly sorry for serving you food with a dirty, disgusting filthy follicle of hair in it. Of course your dinner is on us tonight. Please forgive us for this vile sin and don’t tell anyone else at the ‘park about our cleanliness issues. In fact, here’s some gift cards for when you come back again.’

All my life I’ve been told that honesty is the best policy. Despite all the overwhelming evidence to the contrary I decided to try it anyway. What I actually said to them was this:

‘I’ve got some great news! You don’t have to worry any more. I went back there and looked at it in the light and I am 99.99% sure that that was your hair you handed me. I would have to do a DNA test to be 110% sure, but it looks like one of yours just fell onto your plate or something. I checked and nobody here-not the cooks, not the servers, not the hostesses, not the foodrunners, not the bussers, not even the vendors that bring us food-has hair like this. So you are safe and you don’t have to be grossed out. Everything is okay. Is there anything else I can get for you?’

No, we didn’t comp anything. Yeah, I got stiffed. But that’s three fewer people out there that will be less likely to pull the hair trick. And if they are the kind of people who will complain to everybody they know about how ‘mistreated’ they were then that’s just that many people more that will reconsider trying to pull a fast one in a restaurant.

Dignity and Respect

Me, The JerBear

13 Comments

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13 responses to “Chewbacca Ate Here

  1. Dispicable, really. I cannot believe people pull stunts like that. It really pisses me off because then honest people look like liars when anything happens. For example, I was eating a chicken pot pie and a sharp thin bone went sideways and pierced the roof of my mouth (very weird). When we pointed it out we were kind of given the hairy eye-ball. Now I know when you’re shredding chicken these things can happen, but I was pregnant at the time and I almost choked on it so I was a little freaked – but again I politely pointed it out and I felt like I had done something wrong.

    Can you address people that eat and run or dine and dash (whatever it’s called). Do the servers get stuck with the bill? Many moons ago I was with a girl (we were 19) that I had met at school and she suggested we take off on the bill. I said, “Well you can, but I’m staying.” I’ve never done it, but I hear people referring to it happening. Is it common? Uncommon? Oh, I’m so nosy — I mean, curious.

  2. What losers. I applaud your response. It makes me feel bad when that actually happens to guests because they’re always looked upon skeptically. I actually had a lady this weekend find a hair in her fried shrimp. It was short and gray, and fried into the batter, so it was obviously not theirs. We comped the meal even though they insisted it wasn’t necessary, and they left relatively happy.

    Darla – it’s my understanding that most (if not all) states have laws that prohibit employers from making the check the server’s responsibility. Even so, it’s a horrible thing to do and I think that anyone who does it deserves a slow and painful torture. If it happens too many times to one server, management assumes the tables paid cash and that the server just pocketed the cash and claimed a walked tab. Then the server gets fired for something he didn’t even do.

  3. Is hair even that bad for you? How many times does one of my one hairs get in my mouth? Millions of times. Sure it’s annoying, but that’s it.

    Dont’ remember if I’ve ever found hair in my food at a restaurant. If I did, I probably just flicked it aside or ate around it or something. Hair is not a big deal. It’s not like it’s a Band-Aid or a rubber.

  4. joeinvegas

    My sister in law carries around dead cockroaches in her purse. Usually eats about 3/4 of the meal before pulling one out, putting it on the plate and screaming.

  5. server

    What did they say???

    • I don’t think they left happy. After all their ironclad, foolproof technique failed to win them free food. Shortly after that these young ladies came in and also ‘found’ a hair in their salad.

      This hair was also the same color and length as hers but she didn’t make a scene about it and was very polite. She knew the hair could have been hers. However, this time the hair COULD have belonged to somebody from the kitchen or the bus staff so I had her meal comped and everybody left happy. Did I mention that she was very, VERY nice about it and insisted on not making a big deal about it? Oh and she left a decent tip too.

      There’s a lesson to be learned here kids.

  6. server

    some people see other people behaving badly and get their way but it eventually catches up to them. i’m glad you stopped their scam. i’m sure it wasn’t the first time they did it and (unfortunately) probably won’t be the last.

  7. Jeremy

    I had the hair thing happen at a place I worked at a few years back. The lady found a long blonde hair and freaked out.(she had long blonde hair) I said I’d look into it and be right back but she just kept bitching about how horrible it was and demanded to see the manager. She freaked out at him and he said he’d be right back. he brought out the 3 guys from the kitchen all 4 servers and the artender to stand by her table. I had the longest hair out of all of us and it was less than a half inch. He looked at her, said it was clearly her hair, handed her the bill and told her to apologize to me for her reaction. Needless to say my manager found a nice bottle of wine on his desk the next morning from me. God I miss working for that man.

    • Hells to the Yizzeah on this one! It’s a shame that stories like these are the exception and not the rule. I’m starting to think that the more a customer freaks out over some minor offense the less likely it is that their complaint has any merit.

  8. I can see the “we’re full and we’re getting a free meal” look from across the dining room. I’ve also challenged people on hair in their food. A long black hair…sorry, the cooks have shaved heads & my hair is blonde & pink. You’re outta luck.

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