It’s a girl!


Well, that’s what they told us.  Words can’t express how beautiful this is to me.  Seeing that little heart beat today made it all hit me.

I’m sure I’ll post more funny goofy silliness about having a daughter eventually, but right now I’m just so happy and I wanted to share.  I can’t wait to meet her!

Also, the feet on the printout were adorable, but I could be biased:

Feet!

Feet!

A food order for the 22th of December, eh?


Well.  Mr. Simson & Ms. Baker have some competition in the grifter circuit.  Seems all these scam artists really like chicken Caesar products.  I’d still like to know how they got my email & why it’s associated with ordering food.  Mr. Smith would like to throw his hat into the ring:

From: paul jason
Date: Fri, Dec 9, 2011
Subject: mr paul smith food order
To:

Hello how are you doing today my name is paul smith My Mom birthday is coming up on the 22th of december and i will like to place an order for 150 grilled chicken salad in individual pack for the 150 guest, it will be pick up by 3pm on the given date and i will like to inform you that am ready to make the full payment with my credit card today so can i know the total cost for the order plus tax…..get back to me with this following information below.

Restaurant address:
Personal cell number:
Total cost for my order plus tax:
Type of the credit card you accept

Regards
paul

Ah, the 22th of December is indeed a fine day.

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Dec 12, 2011
Subject: Re: mr paul smith food order
To: paul jason

Hello Paul,

What a wonderful son you are!  It’s so nice of you to plan a party for your mom on the 22th.  Which of our locations would you want to pickup from?  Generally, I like to personally deliver to ensure the quality of the food upon delivery.  In fact, I can give 1 free grilled chicken salad in individual pack if I can deliver & hang out at the party.  I can ensure quick delivery too, my van made the Kessel run in under 5 parsecs.

Does the party have a theme?  Have you thought about a Star Wars theme?  I can make excellent TIE-fighter shaped chicken caesar wraps, that I display in front of a giant cheese-ball Death Star.  It really is quite breathtaking.  I have some friends in the 501st Legion that can come out too.  They work for a charitable donation made in their name, we’ll just have to feed them.

The price would be $10 per person, so if you have 150 people, and 5 from the 501st Legion, we’re looking at $1550 total, and $1658.50 with tax.

Have you thought about drinks?  If you’re going with the Star Wars theme, you might want to consider Imperial Stout Trooper or Dark Helmet Imperial Schwarzbier.  I can recommend a good supplier if you don’t have one.

I really hope your mom is a Star Wars fan.  Does she need a date to the party?  These are the grilled chicken caesar TIE-fighter wraps you are looking for.

Regards,
-Waldo Lunar
Owner, Operator, Emperor
OMGWTFBBQ, Inc.

I thought it was time for a departure from the Hawaiian Toga Party theme.  In hindsight, now I really do want a Death Star cheese ball.  Can someone get on that?

Death Star Cheese Ball

No one took the time to make TIE-Fighter crackers?

From: paul Smith <paulsmith5485@yahoo.com>
Date: Mon, Dec 12, 2011
Subject: Re: mr paul smith food order
To: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

Thanks for your email,I am very happy to hear from you with the cost of the order plus tax of my order which is $1658.50 for my order and its okay by me and i want the chicken salad so I will prefer them packed in to-go boxes. Mean while i would like you to add an additional $1275 plus the total price of the order so that you can have all that charged on my credit card now. The funds will be wire to the private carrier who will be coming for the pick up of the food in your place in cash via western union money transfer. i would like you to add it all together plus extra $100 Western union charges for wiring the $1275 to the private carrier and let me have the grand total price inclusive of the tax fee and the 3% credit card company charge fee for the transaction all together,so that I can give you my credit card to charge for the total. I will also like to know what type of credit card you accept for payment. i just want to let you know that i am just back from the hospital i was down with a diagnosis of cancer of the lungs as such i had to spend some time in the intensive care. so i cannot go to western union money transfer for now and pay the driver that is why i want you to help me pay them and you will charge my credit card for the total estimation for the food and the Carrier charges,Hope to hear back from you soon with the grand total so i can forward my credit card information and the carrier’s information to wire the cash via western union transfer to them asap.

Final Break Down:
Foods Order :$1658.50
Carrier’s fee: $1275
Western union fee: $100
3% CC company fee: ?

Unfazed, he was all about putting together a price, but not sure to what end… he wanted to give me a total?  Where do I get scammed here?  Does the “oh I’m paying the courier and he’ll pay you” come next?  I really don’t want to take any credit card information, in case the action in itself is illegal.

Gross Death Star Cheese Ball

This one does not look appetizing at all.

I wrote back offering to be more helpful…

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Dec 12, 2011
Subject: Fwd: mr paul smith food order
To: paulsmith5485@yahoo.com

Hello Again Mr. Smith,

May I call you Paul?  I hope your mother is well, have you talked with her about the Star Wars theme?  I hope that your lung cancer treatment has gone well, Paul!  I’m sorry to hear that you were down with the sickness.  Ooh ah ah ah.  (Sorry, I have a form of Tourette’s that only comes out when I type.  It prevents me from using the Backspace or Delete key too.)  Perhaps you can wear a suit like Darth Vader to improve your breathing?  His lungs weren’t cancerous, but burned quite badly.  I believe all of life’s problems can be solved using Star Wars as a guide.

Why don’t you let me make this easy for you, and I’ll deliver to your location, free of charge!  That way, you don’t need to pay a courier, and I can take your card info. upon delivery, it will save you $1300… or give you a higher beer budget!  A true Jedi would carry out the mission himself.  I’ll even knock a dollar of of each head & provide the Death Star cheese ball free of charge.  Do you know if anyone attending has food allergies?  The cheese ball comes two ways – boy (with nuts) or girl (no nuts).

Does your mom like to drink?  I’m a fan of blue milk & several alcoholic beverages.  Sometimes at night when I’m all snuggled up in my Tauntaun sleeping bag, my R2-D2 trash can is my only friend.  Sometimes I sleep with leftover chicken caesar salad in the bag, because Tauntauns apparently smell bad on the inside.  I imagine rotting chicken, mayo, & raw eggs would simulate that smell pretty well.  I’m drinking blue milk now, mixed with some bourbon.  Actually, the blue milk is eggnog with food coloring.  Aldi doesn’t carry blue milk, and they look at me like I’m crazy every time I request it, so I have to make my own.

Can I come to your party?  I really need this.  In fact, I’ve never made a chicken caesar salad in my life.  But, I found a few good recipes on COOKS.com and I’m willing to try.  OMGWTFBBQ is mainly barbecue as the name suggests.  I cook my chicken breasts in a modified Darth Vader toaster so they come out looking awesome.  Our ribs are delicious, they’re Mustafarian style, blackened with smoky seasoning.

Can I ask where you found my email address?  This all has me very excited.  I think I’m really drunk, so I should end this email before I become incoherent.  I really need your business.  Can you send some photos of your mom?  Does she need a date to the party?

May the force be with you, from OMGWTFBBQ to you, happy birthday mom!

-Waldo Lunar
Owner, Operator, Emperor
OMGWTFBBQ, Inc.

No more correspondence.  Apparently Mr. Smith has no patience, or just is the same person as “John” & “Lori” from the last 2 times and was exasperated at the onset.

It's a (mouse)trap!

I Googled "Death Star Cheese Ball" & this came up. |-o-|

Why do these people prey upon us here in the United States?  From the email, I hope English is their second (or 3th) language.  Are we seen as easy targets?  Are we more Gullible?  There’s more of us?  Is there general hatred towards our country?  Do any of these emails ever work?

So, who’s going to start a catering business with me called OMGWTFBBQ?

OMG.WTF?BBQ!

OMG.WTF?BBQ!

More scams abound: Tried scamming me twice this week. (page 2)

Seriously, about the cheese ball…  Someone tell my wife.  My birthday’s coming up.  Let’s go Death Star cheese ball instead of a cake.  I want some TIE-fighter shaped crackers too.  I don’t think she reads thins unless I call her attention to it directly.  Something about “I listen to your insanity all the time in person, you expect me to read it too?” is her (valid) argument on her blog reading stance.

The worst scammers ever try again…


You read the Chicken Caesar Wrap Scam post, right? This familiar assault came at my inbox again.  I wonder if Mr. Simson and Ms. Baker know each other, went to the same poorly taught “how to be an internet scammer” class, or are indeed the same person.  If they’re not the same person, at the very least they bought the same email list or scan bot program.

From: ray baker [lorisandra72@yahoo.com]
Date: On Mon, Dec 5, 2011
Subject: Order for my Dad Birthday….
To: [blank?]

Hello

My name is Lori Sandra Baker and I would like to order individual grilled chicken Caesar salad in your restaurant,for 150 people on 13th of December and pick up time is 3 pm and it’s for my Dad’s Birthday Party and it will be picked up by Carrier Agent and I am ready to pay the full payment with my credit card so can you make the order for me on that date while you get me the grand total of the foods inclusive of the tax fee,get back to me with the total cost,you can also get back to me.

Regard

I wrote back with a similar response to last time (some parts blatantly cut & pasted – is it plagiarizing if you steal from yourself?):

From: Waldo Lunar [world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com]
Date: Tue, Dec 6, 2011
Subject: Re: Order for my Dad Birthday….
To: lorisandra72@yahoo.com

Hello Ray & Lori,

Sounds like a great time! Would you like the salads in plain old salad form, or in Chicken Cæsar Salad wrap form? The wraps have been quite a hot item lately. May I ask where you found our humble establishment, and how you heard of our incredible Chicken Cæsar Salad? If you have a courier agent, I must assume you are quite fancy. Quite fancy indeed. I’m glad to have been noticed.

Would you like a full menu? We have quite a few price levels and advertising options to help keep the cost low. I also offer party planning, and discounts if I’m invited. (I don’t get out much, I’m always making Cæsar dressing and grilling chicken!) I could deliver, and we could do cash on delivery if that’s OK.

As far as pricing… Would you like to stamp your father’s name along with a happy birthday message on the outside of the wrap(s)? Advertising with printing directly on the wraps is standard for us, so it’s no big deal & not much of an extra charge for us to add a custom message. We feel that we must seize every opportunity to advertise.You heard of us somehow, right?

Currently we’re working on exciting “edible” advertisements that will pass through your system and remind you of our catering services upon their exit. They always come out (well, usually always), but they’re not always readable. We need to work on a smooth non-stick or oily surface that always floats. We hope to be the world leader in defecation-marketing!

I have a party theme idea for you too… Toga Luau. It’s going to be a thing, I tell you. It will be huge. Your dad can say “I had that party before it was cool.” I mean, brilliantly flowered togas? Let it simmer.

About the price… I like the show Pawn Stars. You ever watch? How about you give me a number that’s ridiculously low, and I’ll come back with an equally ridiculous high number, and we’ll negotiate.

Looking forward to your business!
-Waldo Lunar

From here on out there’s no mention of Ray, the name from the original email.  I hope Ray is OK, and not tied up in his basement.  At any rate, they continue:

From: Lori Sandra [lorisandra72@yahoo.com]
Date: Tue, Dec 6, 2011
Subject: Re: Order for my Dad Birthday….
To: Waldo Lunar [world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com]

Hello

Thanks for the email Before you go Ahead i will like to Know if you accept Credit Card for Payment

Hope to hear from you asap

Regard

Regard, indeed.

From: Waldo Lunar [world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com]
Date: Tue, Dec 6, 2011
Subject: Re: Order for my Dad Birthday….
To: Lori Sandra [lorisandra72@yahoo.com]

Hello Lori,

I can accept a credit card, I guess. I’m not sure if I like accepting credit card info. via email. Perhaps I should set up a PayPal account? From which of our locations would you like to pickup? I hear there are some shady people out there looking to grab cc info from emails.

Have you thought about the wraps, the advertising, the Toga Luau, and my invitation yet?

Also, come at me with a price!

OMGWTFBBQ,
-Waldo

Seriously, if I ever own a BBQ joint, that’s what I’m gonna call it. OMGWTFBBQ! Maybe OMG.WTF?BBQ! or something close. I bet there’s already one out there.

OMGWTFBBQ

OMGWTFBBQ

Unfazed, it goes on…

From: Lori Sandra [lorisandra72@yahoo.com]
Date: Tue, Dec 6, 2011
Subject: Re: Order for my Dad Birthday….
To: Waldo Lunar [world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com]

i have Credit Card Not paypal ok

Getting testy?

From: Waldo Lunar [world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com]
Date: Tue, Dec 6, 2011
Subject: Re: Order for my Dad Birthday….
To: Lori Sandra [lorisandra72@yahoo.com]

Hello Lori,

I believe that you can use credit cards via PayPal. OMGWTFBBQ, Inc. is concerned about your privacy & personal information. Credit card will be fine.

What price would you like for the order? What about advertising, & the toga luau?

Cialoha (get it Ciao + Aloha…?),
-Waldo

Heh. At least I find myself amusing.

From: Lori Sandra [lorisandra72@yahoo.com]
Date: Tue, Dec 6, 2011
Subject: Re: Order for my Dad Birthday….
To: Waldo Lunar [world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com]

not interested

D’oh! I try to redeem myself, while trying to slightly up the ridiculousness. To what end, I have no idea.

From: Waldo Lunar [world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com]
Date: Tue, Dec 6, 2011
Subject: Re: Order for my Dad Birthday….
To: Lori Sandra [lorisandra72@yahoo.com]

Hello Lori,

May I ask why you’re all of a sudden not interested? You seemed quite eager to give me your credit card information. I’m not sure why. Shouldn’t we discuss details of the order before we discuss payment?

You’ll be sorry for passing up my Hawaiian toga party. It’s going to be all the rage next year. My on-wrap & defecation advertising promised DEEP discounts, and you still can’t see that we’re a perfect match?

I’m sorry for lashing out. Can I still come to the party?

“Welcome to Costco, I love you,”
-Waldo

Who loves Idiocracy? Everyone does (or should). Maybe “Lori” is a fan.  Maybe she thinks I’m dumb enough to fall for this crazy scam.

From: Lori Sandra [lorisandra72@yahoo.com]
Date: Tue, Dec 6, 2011
Subject: Re: Order for my Dad Birthday….
To: Waldo Lunar [world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com]

Okay

OK?  OK!

From: Waldo Lunar [world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com]
Date: Tue, Dec 6, 2011
Subject: Re: Order for my Dad Birthday….
To: Lori Sandra [lorisandra72@yahoo.com]

Dear Lori,

OK I can come to the party? Sweet! Where is it? I already know the time and date.

Want me to bring a giant Chicken Cæsar Salad, or some individual wraps? Would you like any sides?

Toga! Toga! Toga!
-Waldo

…and no further reply. Heh. Apparently the projected profit has now outweighed the effort.

I did, however, recently gain some insight on the objective.  A member at The BBQ Brethren Forum, colonel00, posted a link to my Chicken Cæsar Wrap scam blog post, and apparently Mr. Simson & Ms. Baker get around… under a few different aliases.  Poster chachahut provided some insight on the type of scam:

This is a form of a Courier Grift.

The grifter – in this case the emailer or in some cases a person calling via TTD – wants a large order of food. Rather than having the joint deliver – they will be sending a courier. As the courier requires cash payment, they will ask you to charge the credit card an additional amount – usually a few hundred to $1000 – and wire the money to the courier service. Why do you have to wire it? Well, the grifter is in the hospital & cannot take it or wire it to them & the courier does not accept credit cards (yeah right).

Of course – there is no courier service. It’s nothing more than a receiving address for any one foolish enough to send the wire. Additionally – the credit card used it certainly stolen & will ultimately get rejected or the charges will be reversed.

The whole thread can be seen here: Tried scamming me twice this week.

Interesting.  Convoluted, but interesting.  Google didn’t turn up much for “Courier Grift”, but I did find these interesting/enlightening sites after altering my search terms slightly:

Crazy.  Hard to believe that anyone can be lulled into this one.  I mean there really are a lot of steps, and it’s got to be hard to gain confidence via email.  It must work if there’s still people out there trying it.

I wonder what the BBQ aficionado guys would think of my local BBQ joint reviews or chipped ham BBQ?

Crop-dusting for disgusting cell-phone roaches.


This Facebook status seemed quite popular.  Thought I’d blog about it, and get some more input.  There are 2 points here that seem to universally annoy us…  People talking loudly (or at all) on cell phones in public places, and people that talk about disgusting things when you’re trying to eat.

So, I'm sitting at Chick-fil-A tonight, trying to enjoy some chicken nuggets and some chicken noodle soup... and some crazy Yinzer lady is about 4 booths away screaming into her cell phone, talking about infections, site-wounds, dialysis, and MRSA.  Besides it just being rude to be on your phone there in a public place...  Really? Everyone around is trying to eat. I wish I could pass gas on demand. I would have made several runs (pardon the pun) past her table.

So I'm sitting at Chick-fil-A...

The original text…

So, I’m sitting at Chick-fil-A tonight, trying to enjoy some chicken nuggets and some chicken noodle soup… and some crazy Yinzer lady is about 4 booths away screaming into her cell phone, talking about infections, site-wounds, dialysis, and MRSA.

Besides it just being rude to be on your phone there in a public place

Really? Everyone around is trying to eat. I wish I could pass gas on demand. I would have made several runs (pardon the pun) past her table.

Pus oozing from an abscess caused by bacteria—...

Image via Wikipedia

Click the pic above to magnify the first wave of comments, and if you want check out this old post for reference: Excuse me, I’m eating.

So, what’s your take on disgusting topics during meals, public cell phone users, and the unholy intersection of the two?

Chick Fil A 8pc Nuggets

Image by j.reed via Flickr

Excuse me, I’m eating.


Over my lifetime, I’ve amassed a list of words and subjects that I’d rather not discuss while eating.  This includes dining out, eating dinner at home with my wife, with a large group, or even just snacking.

This especially applies to family gatherings.  For some reason, dinner conversation always comes around to operations, infections, and/or feces when I’m with my family, and oddly… this extends to my wife’s family too.

There are just some things I don’t want to think about or even hear mentioned while I’m shoveling food into my face.  I’m I alone in this?  Please tell me I’m not alone.  I can’t watch Dirty Jobs while I’m eating either.

Here’s a short list of words and subjects that I don’t want to hear while I’m eating…

  • Infection / Infected
  • Puss
  • Anything ending in “ectomy
  • Bloated
  • Operation
  • Poop, diarrhea, feces, shit, crap, etc.
  • Diaper (…especially when it leads to a discussion of use and/or contents.)
  • Vomit, “Throw up”, puke, regurgitate, etc.
  • Bile
  • “Soupy” describing anything other than soup.
  • Anything describing a recent doctor’s visit.
  • Anything describing a recent dentist visit.
  • Maggot
  • Blood
  • The word “Hospital”, because it never leads to anything good.

I’m sure there are more, but these are the most offensive.  What would you add to the list?

Don’t ever eat anything anywhere anytime.


So, I admittedly went mental with my last blog post, and it ended up being more of it’s own entity than a tangent or aside… but I think it may give you a little background of what’s going through my head in addition to the regular shock & horror that’s surely intended by the writers/submitters/vloggers of the matters that I’d like to discuss here.  Maybe it’s a part in a series.  I never know exactly where this will go.  Now that you know about my allergy and how it affects me mentally, we can get on with the rest of the issues at hand.

I have had several discussions with friends who have worked in the food industry (as I have not) about kitchen cleanliness issues, server attitudes, and just service in general.  I have a site 90% or so ready to go called Fast Food Fail that I eventually hope to get up n’ running… to point out service issues that I seem to think should not be accepted.  I have been told it’s ridiculous because it’s “only fast food” and that “people working there don’t care” or “don’t make enough money to care.”  Fair enough.  But, I feel this is laziness.  It’s laziness on the part of the food preparer & servers, and laziness on the part of the consumer that just sits back & takes it.  I wanted to focus on fast food because it fits my price range, schedule, and it’s easy to avoid shellfish there… but these articles seem to go from fast food to diners to sit down chains all the way up to the high end places.

Before I go on, a bit of a disclaimer:  It’s been pointed out to me by a few that some of the statements I’m about to quote may be exaggerated for comedic effect shock  value, and what-not…. and that this “doesn’t really happen” anywhere.  Okay.  Opinions noted.  I’m sure my opinions will swing just as far the other way.  A few of my dining pet peeves may even jump out here.

Okay… as I was saying… Sunday night, I sit down to check my email and I get a link to a Yahoo!  news article from their home page that makes me wretch in disgust.  It’s called  20 Secrets Your Waiter Will Never Tell You.  After reading, and clicking through several links around the various sites (you know how it goes), I found 30 Secrets Your Waiter Will Never Tell You — Which seems to be an earlier longer version of the same article by Michelle Crouch.  I’m just going to quote then rant.

Here, from a group that clears a median $8.01 an hour in wages and tips, a few revelations that aren’t on any menu.

Am I to feel sorry because these people make $8.01 per hour?  I have always done the job I was hired to do to the best of my ability no matter what the pay.  It’s the set rate accepted by you the minute you took the job for the services rendered.  If you feel that your time and effort deserve more compensation, then move on.  Don’t give me the “it’s the only job I ca get” crap either… because i it is, then suck it up, and do it to the best of your ability so you’ll be in that mode when something more worth of you comes along.  And, I haven’t worked food service… but I have done construction demolition & labor, cleaned offices for extra cash, and worked on an assembly line… all “menial” and labor-intensive tasks.

2. On Christmas Day, when people ask why I’m there, I might say, “My sister’s been in the hospital,” or, “My brother’s off to war, so we’re celebrating when he gets back.” Then I rake in the tips.
—Chris, a New York City waiter and the founder of bitterwaitress.com

Thanks, you just made me less inclined to believe any back story of any servery anywhere.  I’m sure they’ll all thank you for that.  (Just like the geniuses that say they have a food allergy when they really don’t… but I might get to those people later.)

4. If someone orders a frozen drink that’s annoying to make, I’ll say, “Oh, we’re out. Sorry!” when really I just don’t want to make it. But if you order water instead of another drink, suddenly we do have what you originally wanted because I don’t want to lose your drink on the bill.
—Waitress at a casual Mexican restaurant in Manhattan

Annoying to make? How about you DO YOUR JOB?  I don’t go to work and lie to customers because they’re annoying or it’s annoying to do what they’re calling to ask me to do…  I DO IT, because it’s why I’m there.  You should pick up this attitude too.  If I’m at a restaurant, and it’s on the menu, I damn well better be able to order it.  (This is the standard with Milkshakes at McDonald’s I think.  I can’t remember the last time I had one.  The McDonald’s shake machine repair man must be more elusive than bigfoot riding a unicorn.)  If you’re out or it.s broken or something, there better be a preemptive note in the menu or a verbal notice when I sit down.

5. When I was at one bakery restaurant, they used to make this really yummy peach cobbler in a big tray. A lot of times, servers don’t have time to eat. So we all kept a fork in our aprons, and as we cruised through the kitchen, we’d stick our fork in the cobbler and take a bite. We’d use the same fork each time.
—Kathy Kniss

7. I’ve seen some horrible things done to people’s food: steaks dropped on the floor, butter dipped in the dishwater.
—Waiter at a casual restaurant in the Chicago area

I hope this is the shock value/comedic effect stuff that people are telling me is entirely fictional.  Where would this be acceptable?  Now, you see why I worry about cross contamination so much.

6. If you make a big fuss about sending your soup back because it’s not hot enough, we like to take your spoon and run it under really hot water, so when you put the hot spoon in your mouth, you’re going to get the impression—often the very painful impression—that your soup is indeed hot.
—Chris

Thanks for giving the idea to like minded individuals out there, Chris.  I’ll remember to hold on to my spoon if I ever have the need to send soup back.  I’m generally afraid to ever send anythign back… urban legends like this, and the movies Waiting… and Road Trip “French Toast” scene are why.

10. Oh, you needed more water so badly, you had to snap or tap or whistle? I’ll be right back … in ten minutes.
—Charity Ohlund

Good point, that’s just stupid behavior.  I have no idea why anyone anywhere would find this to be acceptable.

13. Sometimes, if you’ve been especially nice to me, I’ll tell the bartender, “Give me a frozen margarita, and don’t put it in.” That totally gyps the company, but it helps me because you’ll give it back to me in tips, and the management won’t know the difference.
—Waitress at a casual Mexican restaurant in Manhattan

Used to get free soup at Eat ‘n Park this way when I worked night shift nearby.  I always tipped the value of the soup plus some.

19. Trust your waitress. Say something like “Hey, it’s our first time in. We want you to create an experience for us. Here’s our budget.” Your server will go crazy for you.
— Charity Ohlund

After reading all the rest of this stuff, I’m supposed to trust the waitress?

22. When you say, “I’ll have the pasta Alfredo,” it tells me two things: You aren’t interested in trying new things, and you don’t eat out much. Restaurants put this dish on their menus because it’s “safe,” it sells, and it’s cheap to make.
—JR

Or you’re me at an Olive Garden where the Pasta Alfredo is the only thing besides the salad, breadsticks, and pizza that isn’t a possible cross-contamination induced death by anaphylaxis.

28. If you’re worried about cleanliness, check out the bathroom. If the bathroom is gross, you can be sure the kitchen is much worse.
—Waitress at a well-known pizza chain

So, don’t eat at this McDonald’s?  I’ll have to make an exception for Gooski’s with this rule.  Some things, I just don’t need to know.

In a weekly blog called “In the Weeds” for frothygirlz.com, Kansas City waitress Charity Ohlund describes her favorite customer stereotypes:

6. If you have a food allergy, you will talk about it in great detail and then each time I set a new plate in front of you, you will ask me if I remembered your food allergy.

Offense taken.  I get, this list was to be cute & funny… but I make the waitress aware of my allergy once, or sometimes my wife even does it because she knows I’m already on edge, and we never feel the need to mention it a second time.  Sometimes the manager comes out, sometimes the waitress is very understanding and reassuring.  I hope they’re not pulling the wool over my eyes just to get a bigger tip.  And, if it could kill you, you might be a little on edge about it too!  And… even if you have an epi pen… it’s not a life saver, its’s a time buyer… it gives you a good 20 maybe 30 minutes for the EMT’s to arrive & give you another dose until they can get you to the hospital.

That aside, poking around that site more & more, it is entertaining and well written… and I don’t get a malicious feel behind any of the posts.  I guess everyone needs to vent, but in that spirit, I feel free to vent back.

Wow all that in response to just the one article.  I think this just because a series… because I have other pet peeves involved with dining out including tips and closing times… and I came accross many more disturbing revelations in some of the articles/links.  Maybe I’ll pop them all into the next one.

A little background on my shellfish allergy before I write my next rant of a blog…


Note: I started writing this the other day, and got to a point tonight where it’s so wordy that I’d like it to simply serve as a background to the next blog to show you where I’m coming from, or as the first part to a sort of “To be continued…”


So, Sunday night we had just come home from our 3rd day of Christmas celebration in a row.  Needless to say, we were in a great mood, but pretty tired.  I got online to check my email and see what was up in the world of Facebook, and Yahoo! pointed me to an interesting article from Reader’s Digest that made me wretch in horror and disgust.  This also pointed to several other articles and blogs around the web that divulge the disgusting inexcusable practices of the people who handle your food daily.

Granted, the actions & situations described are certainly not representative of the majority of your wait staff, servers, managers, cooks, chefs, etc. out there… but I find any number of this kind of attitude and described behaviors to be unacceptable.  I was so flustered, I decided to pop some things up on an old message board just so I could sort them out later.  I’m not even sure I’m at a point where they’re all sorted out, but I wanted to get writing while this was still somewhat of a fresh topic to me.  This was initially just an allergy issue to me, but several other side issues have popped up upon further review.  Please, bear with me if I jump form subject to subject before I try to reel it all in.

Generally, I’d like to think that my blogs are mostly amusing… any complaining is usually done within the context of humor, and only marginally serious.  I have used this & other platforms to comment on the state of customer service in the food industry before… generally at the “bottom rung” of fast food places as this is where I usually end up due to dietary needs (no shellfish) and budget issues.

This one, however, is serious to me… and I hope I don’t come off as just ranting, and that the seriousness of these issues is conveyed.

If you know me in person, have dined out with me, or have ready any of my lunacy online… you most likely know what I have a severe shellfish allergy.  What does that mean exactly?  Well, it means that I can’t eat any shellfish, or I go into anaphylactic shock.  Not only can I not eat the shellfish (that’s crustaceans & molluscs including but not limited to ,shrimp, prawns, lobster, crab, crayfish, oysters, mussels, clams, scallops, octopi, squid, snails, and probably even scorpions and pill bugs), but I can’t eat any food that comes into contact with it.  That means, if you cook shrimp on the grill, take it off, and put my steak on  without washing the surface, it’s the same as me eating the shrimp.

I certainly can’t expect the restaurant to clean the grill in between every meal, as that’s certainly not productive on their end… I just usually try to see where the shellfish is prepared, and eat from another cooking surface.  That seems easy enough, right?

I get that it’s my responsibility.  Yes, I’ve had an epi pen.  But I’d really love to not ever have the need to use one.  I’ve even considered getting Allergy Cards, but they seem a little pretentious or something… like my verbal reminder isn’t enough.

Well, getting me in to a place with shellfish is an issue in itself.  Why?  Well in with the aforementioned cooking surface issue… there’s just all kinds of stuff that can run through one’s head.  Like not washing a knife when it cuts one thing then another, shares spaces in refrigerators where things may drip on to other things, places where you might grab pizza toppings like crab meat or shrimp without washing your hands before dipping into the next topping, a friend of mine has even told me he had a piece of shrimp show up in his scrambled eggs at an IHOP once… and I believe the same friend even told me that they had a long and heated argument with the servers at a Chinese place where the ‘vegetarian’ eggs rolls contained crab because “crab is not meat”.  Oops… Death!  (Usually I sadly avoid any Chinese places anyway because of the shared cooking surfaces & probably delicious sauces that can be made with oysters or ground brine shrimp.) This basically makes me never able to completely relax in a restaurant where I’m supposed to be out enjoying myself… it’s an odd paradox.

Generally I can find a safe dish if pressed, and especially if I call ahead… but I need to be in an adventurous mood.

Dining out is an important social activity… a very common social activity that brings with it high levels of anxiety for someone like myself.  Not only from the aforementioned game of Russian Roulette Kitchen Edition, but from explaining my allergy to people.  Yes, anxiety from explaining to friends, family, business associates, your server, and anyone else who may inquire as to why you don’t want to try a great new seafood place or even Red Lobster or Long John Silver’s.  Not only can it be embarrassing where it really shouldn’t be… but it inevitable goes down something like this…

Not me:  “Let’s go to T.G.I. Friday’s”

Me:  “Well, I can’t really eat much there besides a salad or a baked potato.”

Not me:  “Huh?” [Looking at me like I’m an alien.]

Me:  “Well, I have a severe shellfish allergy.  I can’t eat anything like shrimp or lobster, or any cooking surfaces that it touches”

Not me:  “Oh, well just don’t order any.”

Me:  “Well, that’s not enough.  I’ve had a trip to the hospital just from eating onion rings fried in the same fryer as shrimp.  If they have grilled shrimp, I can’t get anythign off of the grill… if they have fried shrimp, I can’t get anything out of the fryer.”

Not me:  “Well, can you get steak?”

Me:  “No, they probably make that on a grill.”

Not me:  “Well, can’t you get chicken?”

[Mind you, I have ad this conversation with seemingly intelligent reasonable people.]

Me:  “Well, no… if it’s grilled, well… we covered that, and if it’s fried… that’s a no go either.”

Not me:  “Well, that sucks.  What about … [Names 400 other restaurants, all with prominent shellfish dishes on the menu]… I don’t think they have any shellfish.”

Me: “No.  No.  No.  Nope.  Unh-uh.  No.  No. Nope.  No… ” ad nauseum.  I suggest somewhere else, usually less “classy” because let’s face it… those are the places with no shellfish.

Not me:   “Sigh, OK.”

[I look/feel like an idiot.]

Then sometimes, one of these gems gets tossed in…

Not me:  “Well, that’s just stupid.  I’ve never heard of that.” or “There’s no such thing as food allergies.”

Yes, because you have never heard of it, I must be wrong.  Off to Joe’s Crab Shack!

Not me:  “My uncle Jim’s wife’s neighbor’s cousin’s roomate’s gerbil’s vet’s dry cleaner’s podiatrist was allergic to jelly beans, and he ate a quarter of a jelly bean and swelled up and went to the hospital and stuff and just kept eating bigger pieces until he built up a tolerance”.

Not me:  “Have you tried it lately?  My mechanic’s wife’s niece’s ex-husband had a neighbor who outgrew his allergy to strawberries.”

First off, this type of behavior is stupid… even if the story is real.  It is possible to build up tolerances (allergy shots), and to outgrow allergies… I am well aware of my limitations and have been told by more than one allergy doctor that my allergy is to great to attempt allergy shots and that I’ll never outgrow it.

My favorite comes from family & old friends…

Not me:  “You used to eat at Long John Silver’s!  You can’t be that allergic.”

I know. It’s WEIRD. I get it. Believe me, I get it.  I ate shrimp like a madman when I was young, and each exposure to shellfish since I discovered the allergy kind of seems like the bee sting thing to me, each “attack” gets worse.  After the last one… I don’t want another one.  But science seems to lean toward this being more random and not a straight road to a deadly end.  I really don’t want to be the guy to solve/prove that one.

And, please… if I do go to a restaurant to eat out with you… don’t orders shrimp or lobster and ask me if it’s OK.  Every fiber of my being is screaming “No, it’s not OK.  What are you, a psychopathic masochist that’s into mental torture?” while I tell you it won’t bother me.  Again, clearly my own demon to wrestle with… but really, do you want to be that person?

Still, I feel pressure all the time to just go with the flow, deal with it, and order a salad.  Believe me, a salad more often may be a good idea in my case.  It’s still just not an enjoyable or relaxing thing for me at that point.  We may be conversing, but I’m obsessing over every unidentifiable piece of everything in the dressing and really not processing much of what you’re saying.  Imagine that I told you there’s a box of rat poison in the kitchen right on the shelf between the flour and the sugar, they’re all in identical unmarked jars and there’s only one scoop used in all of ’em.  Do you wanna eat there?

This is really just to show you where I’m coming from.  I realize that it’s not your problem.  I realize that I have some real issues to deal with surrounding my problem.  I realize that this is not a terminal illness or anything that serious.  I’m not trying to get a pity party going for myself.  This is simply to let you know what’s bouncing around in my mind.

It hopefully won’t be long until my next not-unrelated blog… basically pulling quotes form the aforementioned articles and responding one by one.

I’d really like to hear everyone’s opinions of my rant here… am I out of line?  Over-dramatic?  Illustrative?  Insane?  Do you think like me?  Do you have an allergy?