November 25, 2023 | Derek Choi

The WORST Dinner Disasters


These places are not getting a good tip. Whether it is bad service, gross food, or Grandma’s “special” recipes, sometimes going out for dinner just doesn’t go the way you want it to. 


1. The Mystery Kitchen

Back in the good old 80s, a slew of Nouvelle Cuisine restaurants began popping up in my city. So, my coworkers and I decided to try out one of the newer spots, which was getting a lot of good buzz. Around 15 of us were due to attend this work outing—and to streamline things, we pre-ordered all our meals, giving the restaurant ample prep time.

When 7 PM rolled around, we arrived and were shown to our tables by the cordial maître’d. We ordered drinks which were brought to us rather quickly.

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After downing those, we ordered a second batch. But by 8:30 PM, there hadn't been even a hint of our food coming out. 

So, we flagged down a waiter to ask what was up. He blamed it on the kitchen being swamped, but the restaurant wasn't even full.

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This resulted in us coming up with a somewhat ingenious backup plan. At 9 PM, still with empty plates, a quick call was made to Pizza Hut. And believe it or not, they delivered right to the restaurant.

So, we dug in, finished off our drinks, and then decided to head out.

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To this day, I can't help but wonder just what on earth the kitchen was up to that night.

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2. Airport Food

My family and I were hopping on a plane to Iceland and found ourselves stopping to eat at Durgin-Park in Logan Airport. We didn't choose this spot for its gourmet reputation, but for its convenient location and speed.

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Little did we know, the service would be much slower than we expected. 

We waited half an hour just to place our drink orders. To make matters worse, my glass came with an unexpected feature—someone else's lip gloss smudged on it. Another 20 minutes rolled by before someone took our food order.

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Knowing our flight wouldn't wait, we asked them to deliver the check immediately.

Unfortunately, another nerve-wracking 30 to 40 minutes went by, our flight began boarding, and our food was still nowhere in sight. Frustrated, we flagged down the manager to complain, and their response wasn't helpful. They shrugged, saying we would have got our meals for free, had we not already settled the bill.

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Our food finally arrived just as the last boarding call for our flight was announced. Sadly, it was cold and clumped together, so we had no other choice but to toss it. To give credit where it's due, our waitress tried her best within the chaotic environment.

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Still, it was probably one of the most poorly managed eateries I've ever encountered. 

Each server was juggling 15 or so tables, and judging by the state of our meals, the kitchen wasn't exactly overflowing with chefs.

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3. Grandma’s Specials

My granny had a few set dishes that she'd always prepare.

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"Swiss steak" involved the most budget-friendly cut of meat. She'd cook it till it hardened and turned grayish. She would then add a can of mushrooms on top and heat them until they merged into a sticky coating. But that wasn't all.

Her preferred timing for cooking Ramen noodles was right until they became kind of soupy.

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When she wanted to add some flair, she'd incorporate a can of tuna into the noodle dish along with the seasoning packets. 

Her version of "fruit salad" was a mix of orange or lime Jell-O and canned fruits. A combination of mayonnaise and cream cheese served as the topping.

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And at times, she'd heat up some McDonald's French fries and use up old condiments and spices.

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4. And For Dessert…

Back in high school, a buddy of mine asked a few of us to join him for dinner at his house. We were served homemade chicken soup, which was pretty decent.

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For dessert, we had a chunky chocolate cake. The manner in which his mom served this cake is something I'll never forget. 

Rather than dishing it out on clean plates, she circulated around the table cutting a slice for each of us directly into our soup bowls.

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And yes, there was still some chicken broth in them. I never thought I'd say this, but I don't recommend chocolate cake fused with the taste of chicken broth. 

Not a culinary experience I'm eager to relive.

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5. Swallowing My Complaints

When I was just eight, my buddy's dad worked as a chef at a swanky eatery.

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He served up this dish that had an odd smell, akin to stinky feet, and I was sure he was trying to turn us all into cannibals. Yet, typically his meals were delightful, so to prevent hurting his feelings, I braved it out and cleared my plate.

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After a while, he joined us at the table, took a bite of his food and commented, "Seems like the eggs have spoiled".

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6. Taking Back A Bite

Once my family decided to grab some grub at TGI Fridays. Dad picked fish and chips for his meal, while a table nearby ordered chicken fingers and fries.

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Oddly enough, their meal arrived first and the guy bit into what he thought were his chicken fingers. However, it turned out to be fish. 

Given the resemblance between fish and chicken strips, it was an easy mix-up. He voiced his complaint to the ever-apologetic waiter, who promptly took away the plate to rectify the order.

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Our own meal soon arrives, and Dad eagerly bites into a strip of fish only to be met with a shock. 

One piece had a chunk missing, bitten off by the man at the previous table who had received our order by mistake. Ever since that day, I've become pretty cautious.

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I make sure not to leave food untouched, partially consume drinks, or tamper with something I won't finish, just to avoid that awful experience again.

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7. This Isn’t Worth It!

So, it was me, my mom, and my little brother on a family road trip. We stopped at this tiny restaurant in the middle of nowhere to grab a bite.

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The prices were a bit steep and the servings were small, but the food was not bad at all, and given my hunger, I was fine with it.

However, my mom completely lost it. She settled for the most affordable option—the salad bar, and spent the entire time grumbling about the sky-high prices and the standard of the food.

Our innocent waitress took the brunt of my mom's anger—a good five-minute scolding, while I was trying my best to soothe her down, my little bro just sat there feeling mortified. As we were leaving, she paid for her and my brother's meals, made it clear that she won't be eating here again, and announced she won't be leaving any tip.

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I felt bad for the waitress, so I apologized, paid my share and left a decent 20% tip on the total bill. Then my mom gets even more upset at me for tipping the waitress, failing to realize she was just doing her job and had no role in setting the prices.

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I've never felt so mortified by my mom's behavior.

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8. Steak, Cheese, Bread

When I was around 10 years old, my family decided to dine at Charlie Brown's, a favorite spot of my dad's from his youth. I craved a cheesy steak sandwich. Their first attempt at fulfilling my request involved bringing me an actual steak with a side of cheese fries.

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Next up was a delivery of steak with cheese on top, but mysteriously bread-less. I politely directed them regarding the missing bread, and they assured me they'd rectify this. I imagined that would be the end of it, but I was mistaken.

Upon its return, my order had turned into a grilled cheese sandwich, accompanied by steak fries.

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Finally, they managed to get it right on the last try. Meanwhile, my poor brother spent the entire meal without ketchup for his fries. After such an ordeal, we didn't grace that establishment with our presence again.

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9. Red And White

Two weeks had passed since I started my first job, and I was just starting to bond with my teammates.

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On that day, at 1:00 PM, I was scheduled for a meeting to introduce myself to the boss. To make a good impression, I dressed up in my finest shirt and tie. A few colleagues decided to take me out for lunch at a local Mexican eatery close-by.

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Our group occupied a booth and, as we were settling our bill, the unexpected happened. A waitress at the neighboring table had a mishap and spilled a jug of sangria onto the floor. The angle at which the carafe hit the ground made it look like a cannon that targeted me, spewing sangria from my waist up to my face.

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My formerly white shirt was now red, and the smell was strong, making it seem like I'd been heavy drinking. With a stained shirt, I had to walk into my boss's office, with my colleagues close behind to vouch for me, and convince him I hadn't stepped into work completely plastered.

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10. Dinner With Pets

When I was 13, I found myself having dinner at my first girlfriend's house, enjoying some delicious tacos. I've always had a soft spot for tacos and felt pretty at ease with her family, having dated her for a few weeks. In high spirits, I was munching away my second taco when I noticed my girlfriend barely touched hers.

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I asked her why, and her answer sent chills down my spine. With a downcast tone, she mumbled, "This was my cow". As we carried on with our conversation, I discovered that the tasty taco meat originated from a cow my girlfriend lovingly raised from a calf and paraded at shows.

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If the awkwardness of eating my girlfriend’s beloved pet while she was almost crying wasn’t enough, her dad decided to add to it by telling her off. Using farmer lingo, he gives her a "life comes full circle" speech. He even instructed me to continue eating so as not to baby her.

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So, there I was, caught between my girlfriend and a man who'd been surprisingly cool about me smooching his daughter. As an unsophisticated 13-year-old, I sadly decided to side with her father and ate a third taco. I attempted some consolation phrases like, "Well, you clearly took good care of it," and "It was treated well, right"?

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11. A Sandwich Surprise!

When I was a young child, I was allowed to ride my bicycle to the popular sandwich franchise nearby.

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Full of pride, I bought my preferred sandwich with my own cash. Excitedly, I brought it home and took a huge bite while sitting at our dining table. Instantly, I felt a revolting sensation in my mouth and my gut sunk in disgust.

I began gagging uncontrollably and quickly spat out a large ball of short, curly hair into the garbage can.

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Upon dissecting my sandwich, I discovered an entire layer of hair hidden within it. It was as if someone had a stash of their fresh haircut and decided to sprinkle it on a child's sandwich. 

Furthermore, the hair seemed to belong to someone with horribly dry and brittle hair.

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Rather than reacting with alarm as expected, my mother just seemed irritated at the noise I was making. A more caring parent would have immediately rushed back to the restaurant and given them a piece of their mind.

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12. At The Steak House

Years back, I happened to go on a date.

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The dude was confident that the restaurant he'd picked would be a new experience for me. But boy, was it pricey, and boy, had I been there before. While we were waiting for our table, he told me not to use slang, claiming it wasn't suitable for such a classy establishment.

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As soon as we took our seats, he had the audacity to ask the waiter to remove the bread basket off the table, so it wouldn't spoil my appetite. He went on to order a dish for both of us to share. 

Once he dropped me home, without skipping a beat, I belched loudly and exclaimed, "That was absolutely fantastic! Can't say I've done the steakhouse thing before"! And with that, I daresay I secured my place in his never-call-again list.

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13. Meeting The Boyfriend

My family and I decided to meet up with my cousin's boyfriend at a bar in Minnesota. Upon sitting down, we quickly found out that the kitchen had stopped serving food already, even though it was just past nine. The waitress, being extremely apologetic, offered us what she had left—peanuts.

Instead of being understanding, the boyfriend was disrespectfully rude.

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He threw the peanuts on the floor and found it amusing, leaving the waitress to clean up his mess. This appalling behavior made my parents, and myself feel deeply uncomfortable. My cousin quite clearly looked devastated. 

It wasn't surprising that their relationship ended shortly after that incident.

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14. Your Meal Looks Better

One time, while I was dining at Bertucci's, an Italian restaurant, a fellow guest approached my table. He asked if he could have my meal because he didn't enjoy his own. I declined his request. However, he became slightly confrontational until the restaurant's management stepped in and asked him to leave.

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It turns out, he had been at the restaurant earlier, drinking and grumbling about various things, but maintained a decent demeanor until that point. I came to know later that he was notorious for this sort of behavior, and the staff were initially skeptical of him. Even though they issued an apology to me, they didn't offer any sort of meal compensation.

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Honestly, I was baffled, as to why they let him enter in the first place.

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15. A Really Hot Date

My companion and I headed to a local Mexican joint and decided to try the nachos. Surprisingly, he mentioned that he'd never tried a jalapeño before, which was weird because we were in Texas where they're pretty common. 

When I found out he wasn’t a fan of hot food, I suggested that he might want to remove the jalapeños from the nachos before diving in. But instead, he opted to eat all the jalapeños right off the bat.

I noticed he was visibly uncomfortable and checked on him, but he insisted he was fine.

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I momentarily stepped away to use the restroom. By the time I returned, every drink in sight—both our waters and iced teas—were drained dry. 

He was too proud to admit that the peppers were overwhelming, unaware that gulping down water or tea actually intensifies the heat.

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We didn't go on a second date.

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16. A Twist On Mac And Cheese

When I was around the age of 11, my family and I decided to visit my mom's distant relative for the very first time—and it would also happen to be our last. This lady was slightly off kilter. 

She had this grand idea of a "fancy dinner party," but her version of fancy was a partially eaten bag of chips for starters, barely cooked ham, and a poorly made dish she bravely referred to as baked mac and cheese. The most surprising part was that she didn't even start preparing the meal until we had arrived.

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She invited us over for six, but didn't start cooking until an hour later. If my memory serves me right, she mixed Kraft mac and cheese powder with a completely different type of pasta. She overcooked the pasta, so as a solution, she layered slices of American cheese over it and, for a finishing touch, topped the dish with both crushed and whole graham crackers.

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She popped it in the oven for just long enough that half the cheese remained unmelted. It was so dreadful, I was on the verge of shedding tears at the dinner table. To add to the discomfort, her bewildered husband snapped out a "What in the world did you cook"? making the situation even more awkward.

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17. This Is Real Food!

My roommate decided to make us a celebratory meal because we just moved into our first shared apartment. The dish on the menu? Chicken breast coated with cinnamon. We gave it a go, but truthfully, we couldn't stomach it. Then, he threw cinnamon into the mac and cheese too.

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When we confessed it wasn't to our liking, he argued we weren't appreciating it because we only ever ate premade freezer meals, lacking any exposure to fine cuisine. To be fair, we never had gourmet food, but if this is what gourmet means, I'd rather stay clueless.

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18. Someone Open The Door!

Every year, my family and I take a trip up to New Hampshire. One time, we decided to eat at a place called The Homestead. It was a pretty decent place, but honestly, the food isn't what stuck in our memory.

What we can't forget is this little boy, probably not older than six, who desperately needed to use the restroom.

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Despite his best efforts, he couldn't gain access to it, and at last, he just couldn't hold it in.

He ended up getting sick throughout the establishment. There was vomit everywhere—the walls, the floor, everywhere you looked. It was like a constant fountain of sickness. One of the waitresses even sidled up to our table and pretended to dine with us so she wouldn't be saddled with the unappealing task of clean-up.

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Now, whenever we pass by The Homestead, all we can picture is the decor marred by that unfortunate incident of sickness.

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19. Stuck In The Back

Once, my then-boyfriend and I visited a fancy Italian eatery. Upon our request to be seated, the host led us past multiple vacant tables in a lively, populated room.

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But, surprisingly, they tucked us away in a desolate back room. 

We spent the next 90 minutes enduring lethargic and inept service, which left us perplexed as to why we were isolated in this side room with such inadequate service. For the first time ever, it dawned on me that this inferior treatment could be related to the fact that my boyfriend was Black.

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20. Giving Thanks For Good Food

My introductory Thanksgiving experience with my former wife's family was quite awful and nerve-wracking. Coming from a family of restaurateurs, I always assumed everybody could cook reasonably well. This assumption was challenged when I saw their unseasoned, box-stuffed turkey being prematurely pulled out from the oven.

Despite being barely in the oven for three hours, with a visibly pale skin and an unraised temperature gauge, they were adamant that turkey was done, dismissing the gauge readings as useless.

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Their lack of a meat thermometer left me unable to demonstrate otherwise. Cutting a slice, they revealed its raw pink heart.

Rather than returning the bird to the oven or pan cooking slices, they opted to microwave individual portions. They didn't extend this courtesy to the stuffing, so under the pretext of disliking stuffing, I avoided it.

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I tried one bite of turkey and stealthily disposed of it when no one was watching. 

With neither seasoning nor personality, the side dishes were passable, helping me fill up. The rolls, undercooked and lukewarm, were off my menu. Dessert time finally arrived as they served pumpkin pie.

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Though skeptical about its texture, I sampled it, not wanting to let my earlier culinary concerns taint my judgement. 

One ill-favored bite had me fighting an urge to spat it out, saved just in time by the whipped cream. On inquiring, I found out their "recipe" for the pie consisted of a store-bought crust and canned pumpkin—no condensed milk or sugar. Nothing but the crust and the canned pumpkin.

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From then on, every Thanksgiving, we either hosted her parents or went to my family's place.

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21. Kind Of A Rough Meal

I found myself in a home of a local man in Afghanistan, where, following the customary practice, he prepared tea for us. It wasn't the tastiest tea I've had: I could only describe it as warm liquid that tasted like soil.

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Even though it wasn't my favorite, I drank it as a sign of respect and courtesy. Then, it was time for some rice. 

Given their financial situation, it's considered impolite to refuse their food. Here's what you typically do: sample a small portion, eat it at a relaxed pace, and express your gratitude.

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Simple, right? But, in this case, our host had a lack of utensils, crockery, and certainly didn't meet any food safety standards. 

He served us the rice on these shale slabs he called plates, which unfortunately were filled with a worrying amount of gravel. Honestly, the shards of stone in the rice were almost the size of peas.

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The host began eating, and we all followed, endeavoring to chew less and swallow more. 

On top of this, we ate the gritty rice with our hands as he didn't have any utensils. Seeing his messed-up teeth, I realized he probably dines on rocky food quite often.

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Regardless, he was a genuinely nice guy, and I trust that we returned his kindness by graciously accepting his hospitality.

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22. A Mushy Mess

I was unsure of the dish's name and whether it could even be labeled a "meal". Our host prepared a mix of cabbage and carrots, overly done to the point of mushiness.

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This concoction was mixed with mayo, sour cream, and some unspecified meat, supposedly intended to be a noodle topping. But sadly, the pasta was forgotten. 

Despite my offer to wait, the dish was served incomplete, sans noodles. So with slight hesitation, I spooned a few portions of this soggy meaty-mayo-cabbage onto a corner of my plate, optimistically leaving space for potentially more appealing dinner items.

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But my hopes were dashed. 

There were no additional dishes—no bread, salad, or anything else. Just this solitary, unappetizing heap making for a very sad looking plate. Feeling slightly embarrassed, I sat with my modest serving, while the host and their family filled their plates, wolfing down copious amounts of the "dish".

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23. What’s The Mystery Meat…?

Growing up, my dad didn't treat my mom the best, but she always welcomed him for visits for our sake instead of us going to visit him.

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One year, he showed up with his new girlfriend. Now, she was actually pretty nice, so she thought she'd thank my mom for allowing them to stay by cooking dinner.

She whips up this unusual meat casserole that's loaded with bones. My mom, trying to be polite, comments, "Well, this should be interesting". The girlfriend responds with, "I hope you don't mind, but I used the bag of meat I found in the freezer".

My mom pauses for a moment, nudges me under the table with her foot, and starts shaking her head at me furiously.

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We both bow out of dinner, saying we're not really hungry. But my mom keeps an eagle eye on dad as he guzzles down the entire casserole, including what should've been my portion.

Once the coast was clear, she pulls me aside and shares the unsettling cookery secret of the evening. That supposed "bag of meat" was actually canned dog food. It turns out, my mom found some satisfaction in watching dad unknowingly eat dog food, all while cleverly steering me clear from the same unfortunate fate.

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24. Garlic Soup

Over a decade ago, I was seeing a girl who was exceptionally attractive, enjoyable to be around, smart, and laughed every time I said a joke, regardless of its humor. One evening, she invited me over to her place because she planned on preparing dinner for me.

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Considering I had already done the cooking various times before, she presented a lovely selection of dishes, most of which I've since forgotten. However, one dish stood out due to its terrible taste—a bowl of soup that, according to her, was a "Garlic Soup". 

Honestly, I was starting to wonder if she thought I was a vampire and was trying to ward me off with this offensively pungent concoction.

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Despite my fondness for her, I couldn't bring myself to finish the dish. When she tasted her own serving, the grimace on her face reassured me that I wasn't the only one who found the soup unappetizing. 

She realized her cooking blunder, and I was let off the hook for leaving my bowl untouched.

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We ended up getting married and now have three children. One of the few ground rules in our house is that that particular soup is forever banned from our home's menu.

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25. A Beautiful Arc Of Ketchup

My family and I decided to celebrate my uncle's birthday at Red Lobster. Now, my uncle is known for his quick temper.

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We found ourselves seated smack dab in the middle of the place when I saw two college guys at the table just behind my uncle, trying desperately to open a ketchup bottle. One of them gave it a hearty shake. 

Before we knew it, the cap burst off.

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The ketchup set off, soaring through the air in a beautiful arc... to plaster itself on my uncle's back, head and shoulder. My uncle went absolutely bonkers. He got up, a fierce look in his eyes, scanning every corner of the room. 

Somehow, the guys managed to hide the rogue ketchup bottle and just sat there, frozen, their eyes glued to their plates.

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All this while, my uncle was bellowing: "WHO. IS. RESPONSIBLE?! Reveal yourself! I'll track you down with this ketchup trail and PUT AN END TO THIS"! 

Thankfully, the staff members stepped in with enough napkins and a complimentary dessert to calm him down. Meanwhile, the guys quietly asked for the bill and made a run for it.

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26. Down From The Ceiling

Once, I grabbed a bite at a Wendy's based in Manila. There, we heard weird screeching sounds that seemed to be coming straight from the ceiling. Soon we heard a lot of bustling activity overhead. Out of the blue, the perforated ceiling panel just burst open. 

What fell through were two extremely livid cats grappling with each other.

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Of those critters, one crash-landed on my table, tipping over my drink all over me. Meanwhile, the other one managed to take a swipe at my friend before it leaped off.

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27. But You Look So Alike…

I remember a time when my boyfriend and I visited Black Angus for dinner. Our waiter unexpectedly asked us, "Are you guys brothers"? Despite the fact we both have brown hair and eyes, we don't resemble each other.

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I chuckled and clarified that we weren't, yet he remained persistent. 

He astonishingly repeated the same question four times in total. For some reason, he either doubted our response or believed we were deceiving him. Eventually, my patience wore thin. The final time, I assertively stated "No, we are not brothers! If we were, it would make sharing a bed incredibly weird"! 

The waiter instantly turned as red as a tomato and disappeared, quickly being replaced by a new server for the remainder of our meal.

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As you'd expect, my boyfriend was immensely embarrassed. When we return to Black Angus now, we always ensure we're not served by this particular waiter. 

This is both to avoid any further embarrassment for my boyfriend and to ensure I can enjoy my steak without an unusual inquisition.

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28. My Parents’ Proposal

Back in their university days, my dad took my mom to the swankiest place he could scrape up the cash for, even though they were both pretty cash-strapped. They were having this magical, super romantic evening, and my dad decided to pop the question. 

So, he steps out of their cozy booth and kneels down… Unfortunately, a waiter, who was goofing off with his buddy whilst carelessly walking backward with two trays full of drinks, didn't see him and tripped right over him.

Imagine this:

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Both those drink trays come crashing down on my parents. Right there, in the midst of this dreamy proposal. The restaurant's manager takes one look at this disaster, decides to call it a day, and just leaves. There wasn't any offer to cover the cost of the meal.

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They didn't help with cleaning their clothes. And not even the tiniest peep of an apology from the clumsy waiters.

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29. Dinner With An Old Friend

I recently returned to my hometown after spending several years away at college and rekindled an old friendship with a certain someone I've always been interested in.

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We admitted our feelings and planned a date. Strangely enough, he suggested going to a popular steak joint in town. Perfect, right? Nope. 

To my surprise, he had turned vegetarian and raved about the best veggie burgers being at this STEAK place. Don't get me wrong, I have no issue with vegetarian dishes, but a steak restaurant?

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Really, dude? But it didn't stop there. 

He lashed out at our server (quite childishly, I might add), threatening to call out the manager if his veggie burger so much as brushed against any meat. Talk about mortifying. So, when the visibly shaken server asked me what I wanted, I stared at my date and declared:

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"A Ribeye. Make it so rare, it still moos when it hits the table".

I devoured every morsel of that juicy, bloody steak as he glared at me throughout the meal. The aftermath? An upset stomach the next day. But was it worth it? You bet.

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30. Talking With My Hands

During my first year in college while having a meal, my two friends and I found ourselves seated alongside some other girls from our college.

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My friend was subtly eyeing one of them. As we chatted, about 10 minutes into our conversation, I was making grand gestures with my hands, as I am known to do when I get engrossed in conversation. 

Unfortunately, I hit my plastic coke glass a bit too hard and it ended up flying towards the girls' table and spilling on two of them.

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To say I was utterly embarrassed would be an understatement.

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31. Kids Running Wild

I was out having dinner with some pals when our meal was rudely interrupted. A little tyke from a nearby booth made a flying leap onto our table, sending our plates and drinks scattering. He then dashed off, only getting to the next two booths before someone gave him the boot.

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The result? Our table was a mess of food and drinks.

His mom hurried over, apologized briefly, saying, "Sorry, he's special," scooped up the youngster and returned to their booth. Our waiter came by, asking if we were alright and immediately handed us our bill. We of course, were upset and voiced our complaints.

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But, in a crazy turn of events, the waiter defended the kid's actions. 

So I decided to talk to the manager about the situation. I laid out the whole incident to the manager, who swiftly offered to re-seat us and rush our food orders. Next, he requested that the mischievous child's party pack up and exit the restaurant.

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Oh, we didn't pay for our meals either. 

On top of that, I received a call the next day from the restaurant's head office to discuss compensating me for the damage to my clothes. They sent us 4 $50 gift cards and apologized over and over. I later heard from the manager that the mom lodged a complaint against the restaurant for allowing kids to go wild.

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32. A Perfect Patio

I took a lady out to this posh, high-end eatery and splurged a little more to secure a patio table that overlooks a bustling city street below. Everything was going smoothly, and we seemed to be hittin git off, having fun with each other's company. 

Just after we'd asked for our beverages, a loud street evangelist armed with a megaphone abruptly strolled past our seating area.

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He began hollering at the pedestrians about the importance of seeking God. It got to the point where we could hardly hear our server. Just like that, our lovely ambiance was completely disrupted.

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33. The Babysitter’s Meal

Back in the day, my babysitter had this signature dish she'd whip up, let's call it "macaroni soup". Truth be told, it was pretty much a disaster.

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My brother and I would have to endure this ordeal roughly once a month, ending up with us gagging and sobbing over our bowls. And the worst part? 

She fancied herself a bit of a hardliner and would insist that we sit there until every last bit was gone.

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It honestly came off like she was going out of her way to torment us. Ironically, she was usually quite handy around the kitchen, but this dish was as if she'd taken a perfectly bad Kraft Dinner, drowned it in extra water until it all went mushy.

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34. A Fishy Aftertaste

During our dating days, my husband and I decided to have dinner at a mall's aquarium restaurant. Living in a state pretty distant from the seaside or any clean rivers, I've always been a bit wary of fish dishes. My husband, however, didn't share my hesitation as he merrily dug into his mahi-mahi dish.

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As I watched him, my discomfort for the evening was rising, given my dislike for seafood and fear of eels. An enormous aquarium at the center of the restaurant was home to a bright, electric green eel that, in my mind, seemed to be eyeing me. 

After enduring an excessively pricey meal and an uncalled-for eel encounter, we headed to the movie theater where I was employed.

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King Kong was on the charts and we settled down to watch it. To my surprise, mid-movie my date rushes to the restroom and unfortunately falls extremely sick. 

He came back and casually mentioned that I should inform someone about the chaotic state of the bathroom. I insisted that I wasn't comfortable causing trouble for my colleagues and suggested he handle it.

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Later, we found out he had scombrotoxin poisoning, all thanks to the bad fish he ate.

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35. Toppings For Pancakes

My dad and I decided to grab some pancakes at our neighborhood cafe. But instead of the usual butter in those petite cups, they mistakenly gave him mayonnaise. He didn't realize this until he had already spread it on his top pancake.

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Naturally, he requested a fresh batch. 

When they arrived, he joyfully spread real butter on the first pancake, then moved on to the second. But his ordeal wasn't over just yet. What did he find? Another pancake slathered in cold mayo! So, once more, he requested a fresh set of pancakes.

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Finally, a hot stack of pancakes was served to him. 

He spread the butter, doused them in yummy syrup, and took a bite. Just as he was savoring his treat, he stopped... and then removed a chunk of plastic straight from his mouth!

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36. A Pork Brick

My husband's aunt is an absolutely wonderful woman.

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She's extremely kind and cherishes my husband as though he were another son. But, her cooking? Not really my cup of tea. The last time we dined at her place, she served roast pork with applesauce.

The pork, though slow-cooked for hours, didn't strike the right note.

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Instead of being melt-in-your-mouth tender, it was quite rigid and inflexible. Worse still, it was bland.

Then, there was the applesauce incident. From a jar, she simply heated it in the microwave and used it as a topper. The combination was, mildly put, not very appealing. Partially heated, overly sweet applesauce over hard, tasteless pork.

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37. A New Kitchen Appliance!

A few years back, we spent Thanksgiving at my wife's family home. Her aunt, who fancies herself a Martha Stewart, is always chirping about new recipes and cooking ideas. Sadly, her culinary skills aren't quite up to par. Regardless, she declared herself responsible for the turkey. After all, how complicated could roasting a turkey get, right?

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Well, she had this bright idea to use an electric turkey roaster that she'd recently bought. Pop the turkey in, close the lid, and just let it roast. Come dinnertime, she swung open the roaster and there it was... a half-cooked turkey. 

Apparently, the roaster had overloaded the circuit it was plugged into, switching off a couple of hours into the roasting process.

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The turkey was totally pink. Determined to serve it, her husband started carving this barely cooked turkey. 

Being the safety-conscious one, I promptly spoke up, insisting that no one should eat it, it simply wasn't safe. My wife and I scrambled to collect everyone's plates, scraped the under-cooked, radiantly pink turkey pieces into an aluminum pan, then we broiled it until it was at least cooked thoroughly.

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Though it didn't taste great, it certainly saved us from a potential food poisoning fiasco.

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38. Bubbling At The Mouth

I'd been seeing this gent for a while and we were getting on pretty good. One night, while catching up with my girlfriends, I got a text from him pleading for me to scoop him up for a hangout.

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I had an inkling he'd been drinking, but thought—why not, we usually have fun. Upon picking him up, it was clear he was well beyond tipsy.

Perhaps this was my bad, but I decided to bring us to a cozy bar near my home to indulge in some drinks and attempt to get on his level.

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Given it was Cinco De Mayo, I ordered us some Tecates. His response to the drink, however, was appalling and something I won't forget. 

He took a tiny sip and then spent the next ten minutes dribbling into his water glass. You know that nauseating anticipation just before you vomit where your mouth fills with saliva?

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From my view, he seemed to be sitting at our table, discharging everything into the glass. The glass slowly filled with bubbly saliva, sticking to the sides. 

Needless to say, I was utterly disgusted and that was the final nail in the coffin for that relationship.

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39. Putting Out The Candles

So, last year my buddy and his girl decided to splurge on a swanky dinner date.

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Think mood lighting and tall, candle-covered centerpieces. As they settled in, the waiter poured the drinks. When my friend moved to grab his glass, he accidentally sent the candelabra toppling. In a blink, the tablecloth was aflame.

Not long after, the waiter rushed over. To judge by his reaction, he'd likely never been trained to use a fire extinguisher correctly.

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As he panicked and grasped the handle, the table—not to mention my buddy and his date—got a liberal coating of foam. Needless to say, the romantic dinner was a total wash. 

But hey, on the bright side, nobody got hurt.

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40. Who’s The Better Tipper?

During my teenage years, my friends and I popped into a chic, laid-back restaurant for dinner.

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Instead of a warm welcome, our waitress was indifferent, barely noticing our presence. When nearby tables received delicious breadsticks, we were overlooked. 

Desperate, we flagged her down and requested some, only to be informed they were out. We then asked for cappuccinos—however, she curtly informed us our request couldn't be fulfilled due to a malfunctioning coffee machine, then promptly left.

Earlier visits resulted in a special discount on my meatless entree, a courtesy the waitress had independently established.

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Although this young lady chose not to honor this unspoken tradition, I didn't raise any fuss since I viewed my vegetarian lifestyle as personal choice. 

Despite this, it became clear that she was more interested in catering to tables she perceived as more lucrative. The waitress probably viewed us teens as an inconvenience, occupying valuable real estate within her assigned area.

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 There was one important fact she had overlooked, though. 

We all happened to work at a different diner together, with a couple of us being waitstaff in our own right. We always made sure to tip generously, but not on that night. To wrap it up, we didn’t leave without complaining to the manager.

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41. Close Your Mouth!

One sunny afternoon, I headed to a pretty decent eatery for brunch with a few pals.

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Everything seemed to be going just fine until it was my turn to place my order. For some inexplicable reason, in the midst of ordering an omelet, I decided to take a gulp of my gigantic coke. 

My terrible sense of timing and clumsy handling led to splashing the entire beverage down my face and outfit, all while trying to order with a mouth full of ice and soda.

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Following a surprised "Excuse me"? from our waiter, I had no choice but to repeat my order, now soaking wet with soda. Needless to say, I felt pretty foolish.

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42. When Nature Calls

While traveling through the countryside of Iowa for a cell site repair job, I made a breakfast stop at a local diner.

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The call of nature also interrupted me, so I took care of business in the restroom before enjoying a hearty meal. Afterward, I left to tend to my work assignment at the cell site, repairing it just in time for my supper. 

On my way back, I decided to drop by the same diner.

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However, upon my arrival, the waitress exclaimed, "OH NO, NOT YOU AGAIN"! The manager came forward and sternly told me to leave. It appears I had unintentionally blocked their plumbing system earlier, forcing the entire village to shut down their water treatment system for repair works. 

Although I tried to apologize, they didn't seem to accept it and announced that I was forbidden to return ever again.

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So, that's the story of how a significant restroom break got me a lifetime ban from State Center, Iowa, after it disrupted their entire water treatment unit.

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43. The Pizza Pedestal

Once I was dining at a casual restaurant where I spotted a couple, probably in their mid-20s, on what looked like an early date.

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It seemed like one of their first few outings, judging by their semi-formal attire in such a laid-back setting. As the story goes, the woman excused herself and went to the restroom. 

During her absence, their pizza was served and neatly placed on a stand on their table.

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The gentleman tried to rearrange it, only to accidentally topple the entire pizza onto the ground. The woman returned shortly after, but I can't recount exactly what ensued. I imagine the poor guy would've been quite embarrassed.

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44. Projectile Panic

Once, when I was only six, my family and I were enjoying brunch at a well-known diner in downtown Kansas City named The Corner Café. We were good friends with the owner and the café was massively popular throughout KC. As we were having our meal, I suddenly heard a noise that I can best describe as a squishy scream.

It was akin to the sound of a ketchup packet bursting open.

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I quickly turned around and found a visibly unkempt homeless woman. She was missing a few teeth and her hand was coated with a brown material—yes, it was exactly what you think it is. I noticed that she had thrown it across to the opposite wall, narrowly missing a group of diners.

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She continued her bizarre attack, throwing poop around for roughly ten seconds until the café staff managed to restrain her. The authorities were called and she was banned from ever entering that café again. The incident completely upset me, causing me to vomit for half an hour or so, especially since I had just finished a hearty breakfast.

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The putrid stuff was everywhere and the café had to remain closed for the following day for a major cleanup and disinfection.

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45. Veal And Eels

Back when I was a high school senior, I found myself dating a strikingly beautiful, yet incredibly misguided, young woman. One weekend, we decided to double date with a close buddy of mine and his partner.

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So, there we were, in a fancy restaurant, my date orders veal ravioli, and I go for a succulent steak. Everything seemed perfectly fine, until...

Upon tasting her dish, she loudly exclaimed, "Oh dear, is this fish? 'Veal' sounds like 'eel'. I detest seafood. I refuse to eat this"! But that was just the beginning.

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She also began to find fault with the waiter and insisted that the menu should be more precise. 

All the while, I was wishing I could somehow melt into my chair, as my friend and his girlfriend cheered her on in her confusion. They saw the humorous side of the scenario and couldn't help but egg her on.

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Needless to say, we soon made our exit and never returned to that establishment.

What's more, we ended our relationship a week thereafter. Regardless of a young woman's cuteness factor, I've learned never to underestimate the potential for ignorance.

Disaster Dinners FactsFlickr, Sarah Stierch

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46. Sorry, We Need That!

One evening, I decided to join my family for dinner in Raleigh's city center.

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My parents and grandparents were already there, all set to have a wonderful meal. Then, the restaurant staff noticed they'd goofed up and needed a table for some just-arrived reserved guests. 

Incredible as it sounds, two waiters lifted the whole table my folks were at and moved it for these new guests.

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You can guess we weren't thrilled—we ended up taking our business elsewhere.

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47. Feeling A Bit Bloated

My mom thought it would be a fun surprise to pick up my dad from work and take him for a swanky steak dinner. To make sure he looked the part, she brought along an old suit he hadn't worn in ages.

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Despite gaining some pounds since he wore it last, my dad squeezed into the suit and off they went to the restaurant.

Once they finished their meal, my dad felt his trousers uncomfortably tight. Subtly, he unbuckled them a bit for some relief. Little did he know, his decision was about to backfire.

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Suddenly, a fellow diner began choking, and my dad, who was a practicing EMT, instinctively stood to assist. But, he'd forgotten about his loosened trousers, and as he arose, his pants hit the restaurant floor.

Thankfully, another person was already aiding the choking guest, so my dad decided to reseat himself, figuring that was the best move under the circumstances.

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48. The Very First Date

A guy from one of my university classes asked me to dinner. He seemed like a nice person—even offered to pay for the meal. I was new, hadn't made any friends yet, and thought it was a good chance to connect with people. I was without a car and he picked a restaurant on the other side of the city I wasn't familiar with.

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It took me a solid 90 minutes to get there for our arranged time. He didn't arrive until 45 minutes had passed. What was worse, he was upset with me for not snagging a table under his name, saying it would negatively reflect on his credit. 

He promptly ordered a heap of pricey items from the menu and steered our conversation towards our potential physical relationship—in an uncomfortably detailed way. Even when I tried to change the topic, he'd circle back to it.

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When I voiced my lack of interest, his behavior took a wild turn. He devoured food until he reached his limit, even throwing up midway just to squeeze in more. After hogging roughly two-thirds of the food while I lost my appetite after just a few bites, he declared he relished my company and packed the leftovers.

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I used the restroom as he settled the bill. Yet, when I resumed my seat, I was dealt the blow of knowing he had bolted with not just the leftover food but also without paying. I was stiffed with a $120 bill. Needless to say, it was the worst dining experience ever, and thankfully, our paths never crossed again.

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49. We Welcome Everyone!

My family and I headed to Fuddruckers for a meal. No sooner had we taken our seats than my little sister hollered, "That’s a huge rat"! To my horror, a sizable rat was making its way from the back of the restaurant towards the kitchen. Chaos ensued, with customers shouting and scrambling onto chairs and tables.

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The manager emerged to take control of the situation but his response was about as comforting as the sight of the rat. He quickly ruled out any refunds for customers who had already started their meals. A customer shouted, "Did you see the size of that rat?!"? The manager jested, "Of course it's big, it's eating at Fuddruckers". 

My parents promptly asked for the bill and we left, never to return.

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50. A Really Big Mess

Once, at a post-concert dinner with my bandmates, we were all dressed to the nines in our snazzy tuxes. As the waitress approached our table carrying milkshakes, she unexpectedly fell and I ended up wearing six milkshakes across my chest, pants, mobile phone, an open wallet, and even in my shoes.

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But there was more. 

A glass also took a tumble, shattered on the table, and, sadly, cut my hand. She was evidently mortified, and rapidly started to tear up while continuously apologizing for her mistake. She was hustling back and forth, bringing more napkins and towels to aid the cleanup process.

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Once I was semi-dry, she reappeared but this time, with her manager in tow. They kept on with the apologies and offered to foot our bill due to the mishap. As we got ready to leave, she singled me out to say sorry one more time. 

To my surprise, she also said, "Let me make it up to you and replace the spoiled dinner with a fresh start," slipping me her number. To summarize, an unfortunate mealtime incident turned into a promising date with an attractive waitress.

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Sources: Reddit,


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