I dine out more than the average person. So, by my estimate, I'm going to have more bad restaurant experiences than the average diner.
Case in point: A couple of weeks ago, while sucking down strawberry lemonade at a Gig Harbor waterfront restaurant, I sucked a shard of glass through my straw. At first I thought it was ice, but when I spit it out and pressed it between my fingers, I drew a small bead of blood.
I debated whether I should tell my server. I didn't want any compensation or apology. I just thought the restaurant might want to know it had glass in its ice. Unfortunately, my server never returned to my table. On my way out, she was at the host station, on a personal telephone call. So I left without a word, and the shard of glass in my wallet as a souvenir.
How does glass get into ice? Most likely from someone dipping a drinking glass into the ice bin -- a major no-no in the food-service world.
This wasn't the first time I've encountered a foreign object at a restaurant. In January, I broke a tooth biting into a piece of plastic that fell off a Heinz ketchup bottle and onto my burger at a brewpub in Lacey. I knew that the state's labor and industries insurance would cover my dental tab, and I didn't want to have to out myself to the restaurant, which has insurance and would most likely make good for a customer who broke a tooth and complained. I simply told the server about the stray plastic and left it at that.
Which brings me to my simmering question: What would you do if you encountered a foreign object in your food? Would you alert your server or the restaurant's manager? Would you want the restaurant to pick up your tab as compensation? Would you pitch a fit? Would you go back to that restaurant?
If any restaurant folks are reading this, tell me how you would like customers to handle these situations.