Poll: how often do you send food back? also, barfing.

So we’ve been watching a ton of Kitchen Nightmares on Hulu and it seems like people are always sending food back. Granted, these are on the show because they’re supposed to be exceptionally bad restaurants, I can’t remember *ever *sending food back to the kitchen. I’ve complained before, but still ate the food in most cases. Am I an exception? How often (if ever) do you send food back to the kitchen? How bad does it have to be for you to feel like that is appropriate?

Also, there was one episode where Gordon Ramsay ate something he didn’t like and immediately ran to the bathroom and puked it up. I can’t remember ever having that quick and violent of a reaction to food. I can understand the gag reflex immediately going off in some circumstances–your first raw oyster, someone informing you you’ve just eaten a roasted human finger, accidentally eating something you’re allergic to or hate with a passion, eating far too much food, etc.–and of course I’ve had food poisoning before, but that usually takes hours to kick in. When you’re forewarned about what you’re eating (and it doesn’t contain any surprise ingredients, just happens to be not very skillfully cooked), could you have that violent a reaction after just one bite? I don’t think I could. But again, maybe I’m an exception. (I’m thinking also of that scene in Super Size Me where Morgan Spurlock eats his first super sized meal and throws up almost immediately afterwards.)

I eat out quite a bit, and I can only recall sending food back to the kitchen on two occasions. The first, the server brought the completely wrong dish. The second time, the food came out, quite literally, frozen solid. Apparently the cook missed it, the expo person missed it, and the waiter missed it, because when I pointed it out, the server looked visibly embarassed and shocked. The second meal got comped, which I didn’t ask for–the entree that came out to replace it was delicious. :smiley:

Otherwise… I’m really not picky. Even in the first scenario, had I not really been craving steak that night, I probably would’ve eaten the burger and fries the waitress brought. If it’s cooked and edible, and it won’t upset my stomach, I’ll probably eat it.

I’m single and I used to eat most meals at restaurants. In all those thousands of times, only two or three, usually because it was the wrong dish. I don’t usually send the wrong dish back, but if it is something I don’t like, I’ll say something. I often dine at a fine restaurant at the bar and hang have lunch conversation with a person who shall remain nameless because his father is famous. This guy sends back every third meal and complains about any little thing, half in jest, half for real. He is a big tipper and somewhat gregarious, so they don’t hate him too much.

I’ve sent it back because the food was cold, or the toast was completely black, but I rarely do it. If it’s eddible, and not raw, I’m usually not too picky unless it’s a big screw up. I can only ever recall others in my family doing it if the food was completely awful, like the worm in the salad, or moldy pie.

I have only sent food back three times that I recall.

A salad that had a spider in it! (I not only sent it back, I screamed)

Another salad, different place, that was served to me and a fly immediately flew into it and committed suicide in the ranch dressing. (A theme emerges: Don’t serve me insects!) They brought me another salad, and another fly flew right into it, whereupon I reflected that I’m just not that into salad, really.


I got a steak that was not just rare, the center was still frozen. (This one ended up with one of my fellow diners performing the Heimlich maneuver on me because I ate too fast because everybody else was done by the time I got my steak…long story…)

But I have a friend, out of town, who has never failed to send something back, whenever I’ve eaten with him. Fine restaurant or hamburger joint. Something is always not quite perfect.

So it’s me. I’m just not that picky. If the food is lousy I will mention it but at that point I don’t want more food because now my appetite is gone. I am no longer a (forced) member of the Clean Plate club and have no problem letting it sit there with one bite taken out of it. If the waiter asks if everything’s okay, I’ll mention it, otherwise, no. Sometimes they ask, sometimes not. Sometimes they take something off the bill, sometimes not.

Re: part two. I don’t throw up. I will keep my teeth clenched for however long it takes for the nausea to pass. Yes, I have slipped up a few times, but generally, no way.

I’ve only once sent something back - a chicken filet that was supposed to be deep-fried, but apparently one corner had stuck up out of the fat and was still raw. It was replaced quickly and cheerfully, with repeated embarrassed apologies, and I was comped a dessert even though I didn’t ask for it. But that’s really it, and raw chicken counts as “possibly not safe to eat” I’d think.

Never yet. But then, I don’t go out to eat all that much.

I’m also someone who hardly ever sends food back…although the last time was just last month. Work Christmas party, very nice restaurant, superb food…but my boss and I both ordered our steaks medium rare and we both got them well done.

And honestly I wouldn’t have sent mine back if he hadn’t sent his back…and he said the same thing. We both laughed about it; we just don’t like “making a fuss.” But this was a special occasion and he shelled out serious cash for this meal, so I guess I felt justified that time.

The replacement steaks were worth the wait.

Most of the time I’ll just deal with whatever’s wrong…if it’s something quick to fix, like a baked potato that’s old or stale bread or something, I’ll ask for a replacement. If they forgot to put cheese on it, just bring me some cheese and I’ll do it myself. No big deal.

But if the food just isn’t very good or I don’t like it very much…I just make a mental note to either not order it again, or (depending on how bad it was) not eat there again.

And I’ve never thrown up immediately upon consuming something.

Get violently ill 30 minutes later? Yes. Just last week. (Who could suspect an Otis Spunkmeyer muffin of all things? I was sick as a dog for hours.)

But never immediately.

I saw that episode and I suspect Gordon Ramsay is one of those people who likes to makes his point, even at the expense of vomiting…which is a phobia of mine and which I would never willingly do in a thousand years.

Or maybe he just has a highly sensitive gag reflex. :dubious:

Never sent food back, except for undercooked steak. That’s not me saying the chef has insufficient skill, that’s me saying “hey, wanna throw it back on the grill a couple more minutes for me?” Otherwise, I’d feel too much like a robber baron. Maybe I’d consider sending something else back if I’d already established myself as a generous tipper.

Gordon Ramsey–Someone gave our bus driver in Israel a shot of absinthe and told him it was vodka. When someone let him in on the joke (after he’d swallowed), he ran to a bathroom and puked it up. My impression was that he induced vomiting, but who knows?

As for Morgan Spurlock, I haven’t seen the film, but it’s possible that the super-sized meal and the puking were edited to appear closer together.

Hostile Dialect,
Hostile Dialect, Narcissist

I’ll send it back if it’s not what I ordered, or if it’s no good. It doesn’t happen too often. One recent instance was a steak that was almost completely fat and gristle. After spitting out my fifth inedible bite, I gave up and asked them to please find me a better steak. They were really nice about it. Another was when I asked them to please go light on the seasoning, and the dish arrived too spicy for me to eat. I did try a few bites but when my mouth started burning I knew I’d never get the meal down, so I had to send it back.

My niece–aged 3–will vomit up everything in her body if she is forced to eat a bite of food she’s decided she really, really does not want to eat. I’m not sure that this is an entirely voluntary reflex on her part, but . . . if she didn’t work herself up so much before taking a bite, it might not be so likely. I don’t know that she’s ever done this in a restaurant–since restaurants are times when her parents work hard to help her select an item from the menu which she will enjoy.

Can’t say I’ve ever sent anything back, and only seldom have I eaten with someone who has.

I can remember ordering a medium rare steak and sending it back because it was well done. I sent back some salmon once because it was still raw in the middle. That’s it.

I’ve sent steak back.

I sent an avacado stuffed with chicken salad back because the avacado was about 2 weeks from being ripe. The nerve!

I’ve sent wine back.

I send back food when it departs significantly from what I ordered (e.g. I order toast “dry” and it’s slathered with butter). I’ve never seen a waiter have much problem with this.

I once sent back a nice-looking salad that had a sizeable (about a cm square) piece of glass in it - fortunately, I noticed this before taking a bite. That meal was comped.

I’ve sent meat back before when it was overdone. I prefer my meats to be extremely rare if they are being served as a stand alone and not part of a stew or slow roast. I’m always very nice about it, but if I’m paying for a professionally prepared meal, it’s not that hard to give me a rare steak or burger, or make sure that tuna is seared, not burnt. I’ve never had a problem with them fixing the issue either. One time the chef came out to apologize and brought me a properly rare steak that he had prepared himself instead of letting the soux chefs do it.

As to 2: I don’t throw up. Ever.* I’m highly suspect of those who do, and they lose a lot of respect points in my book. If something is foul enough to make you vomit, you ought to have noticed it by scent, or immediately spat it out.

ETA* unless i’m actually sick, don’t be ridiculous.

Only twice that I can think of, both times because the food was undercooked. Once was a hamburger that was supposed to be medium but was still bloody red in the middle. Another time was a chinese dish with chicken and some of the chicken still looked pink. Oddly enough, both times, when the food came back, it still wasn’t completely cooked – it looked like maybe they just popped it in the microwave for a few seconds and called it good enough. I didn’t send it back a second time but I didn’t eat much of it either.

Oh, and I never throw up after eating something nasty, I just spit it out if it’s gross. However, sometimes bad food will give me the shits later on. (Well, you asked!)

I don’t remember Ramsay puking, but I do remember him coughing and gagging out something that turned out to be spoiled. I think it was old scallops or some other seafood. Actual food poisoning can make you vomit (or have other GI problems) but it takes longer than immediately.

I know of one time where I not so much sent something back as alerted the waiter that the pasta alfredo had no cheese flavor to it, and he might want to check with the chef to see if something was wrong with the sauce. He came back with profuse apologies, thanks from the chef, and I got something comped, don’t recall what.

I did send back a salad that came with real bacon shredded all over it; I’m a vegetarian and the salad’s ingredients description on the menu looked like it was pretty complete, so I didn’t prod further. I apologized, and warned them about the problem with Jewish or Muslim people, as well as vegetarians, being unable to eat that.

Maybe once a year, probably less.

If I’m spending a lot of money and I ask for the tuna to be rare, I want rare. If it’s overcooked I might as well bring a can of tuna from the supermarket and save $15.

Recently I was at a Thai restaurant and I asked if a certain fish dish was a fillet or had bones. The waiter assured me that it was a fillet. When they served it they included the head and tail on the plate. That was my one return for 2008

I probably send food back every four or five times. I need to find better restaurants.

And yes, I have eaten something and immediately vomitted. I also vomit when I eat too much and have run to the bathroom for that.

I’ve sent overcooked steak back. I’m never sure how to approach this, actually. I like my steak cooked blue-rare. Apparently quite a few folks (at least around these parts) like to order it blue-rare to sound cool (?!?!?!?), but actually want it done medium. So now I warn the server that I really do want it blue-rare - I won’t send it back if it’s done that way, knock the horns off, wipe it’s ass and slap it on the plate, etc.

At least 50% of the time the steak is still overcooked - and not rare - medium, sometimes medium well. I usually don’t even have to say anything to the server - I’ll point at the steak and they take it away and a properly cooked one will show up in a couple of minutes. I seldom order steak when I eat out anymore - it’s too much of a hassle. FWIW - this has happend in low end places, medium end places and high end places so I’m inclined to believe the ‘people order blue to look cool’ story, but I don’t know.

As to Gordon Ramsey - he is certainly a foodie. The restaraunts he goes to are in the shitter because they suck. I imagine someone with a very refined palate could be made to throw up much easier than someone who eats MacDonalds every day. As for myself, I’ve never thrown up right after a meal, but within a half hour - sure. I’ve heard that’s about the time it takes for bad mayo to be regected by the average stomach.