The bug drama

Once upon a time, in elementary or middle school, my class went to a local Chinese restaurant for lunch. The one-and-only thing I remember about that experience is this: at one point during my meal, I glanced down and witnessed a little green inch-worm crawling along one of the tines on my fork. [Tines? Well, the part of the fork you put into your mouth.] I'm sure I mentioned it to at least the person beside me, and then simply slid my plate away and sat out the rest of the meal.

Tonight we were all out running errands when we realized it was past dinnertime and we should probably stop and get something to eat. And then we have this discussion about how it should be something quick, but not fast-food. [For the most part I detest fast food. Just slightly more than I detest Chinese food, after tonight. But we haven't gotten there yet.] We settled on stopping at a nearby grocery store where they have one of those Chinese food places within the store. Quick, ready-to-eat, but not fast food.

We ordered, paid for our meal, and settled down at a nearby table to eat. Mark and I had ordered enough to share with the kids. About halfway through our meal, Isaac was putting a bite of rice up to his mouth and Mark suddenly yelled, "Isaac! Stop!" For Mark to yell anything at all it's a big deal, so we all halted to find out what was going on. Mark said, "I'm pretty sure there's a bug on that rice." Mark took Isaac's fork to take a closer look. He wasn't sure-- it was still embedded in between some sticky white rice [rice that had come from Mark's bowl] so it was hard to tell. Mark sort of shrugged and said, "I can't really tell..." so I took over the dissection. I used the fork to poke off the white rice, which left the black object in the middle of the white napkin. I rolled it over once, only to discover the wing of said bug, and we all concurred, "Yes, this is indeed a bug." A black, beetle-y looking bug with wings. About the size of a fruit fly. Ew. [I shudder]

So we looked at each other, Mark and I, as if to say,"Now what? I asked Mark, "Will you be eating the rest of that?" to which he replied, "Uh, nah.. I've sort of lost my appetite." Say no more. I scooped up the napkin and headed back to the little Chinese eatery. I waited for a moment where there were no more customers, and then I leaned forward and quietly said to the girl behind the counter, "We were about halfway through our meal when we found this bug [at this point I opened the napkin to display the bug] in our food." And then I just waited for a few seconds, expecting her to say this:

"Oh, I am *so* sorry you found that in your food."

followed by maybe this:

"What was it that you ordered? Let me get you a new one."

But instead, I got nothing but a blank stare, a slight shake of the head, and other than that: no communication whatsoever.

So I tried again, a little less bold this time: "I thought you'd like to know...."

And then she leaned forward just the slightest bit to view the bug I still held before me. She then said, "Yeah, well. It could have flown into the food either back here or over there [indicating our table], so...." (she trailed off and then just looked at me again.)

Okay, I wasn't going to argue the point with her, but PROBABLY NOT, since, you know, the bug was embedded into the rice and looked *very* dead, as opposed to the still alive but flopping around because it had just flown into your food variety.

So then I thought to myself, "Wow, maybe I'm being really petty about this. And this isn't an actual restaurant, so maybe they don't really do that kind of thing here...?" So I offered a weak, "Well, maybe you should at least check your pot of rice..." [you know, in case there was a infestation of sorts going on in the pot of rice? I know, it was a totally dumb thing to say but I was a bit befuddled at this point at her complete lack of care about this issue and was very obviously floundering.]

She just shrugged.

So I left, tossing the folded napkin in the garbage can as I walked back to our table. When I got there I muttered, "Well, that went over real well. She sure wasn't overly concerned about it." And I really planned to let it go at that point. But then I sat there looking at Mark's half-eaten entree and our kids who had been eating off of it, and I asked, "Do you think I should go talk to a manager?" Mark wasn't volunteering for that task, but he was fine if I did, so I got up, walked back over to the garbage can where I saw my folded napkin lying on top (I know, that is so gross but I did want proof that there was an actual bug), and walked over to an employee and asked where I could locate the manager.

He kindly pointed me in the right direction, and I set out to find him.

When I found the manager- Mark was his name- I introduced myself and explained the circumstance, again showing the bug [which as I now type this I think is awfully funny. There I am, traisping all over the store with this little hard black bug in a napkin, offering it up for proof. Oh boy.] Anyway. I said something to the effect of, "I really don't know what you do about this kind of thing. I know that if I were at a restaurant they would probably give me another plate, but maybe you don't do that here. I'm not sure. But I don't think my husband will be eating his remaining portion and we did pay for it... and...? Could we just maybe have another entree? Or half of one? Without the bug?" I did tell him that I'd already been to the eatery and they weren't much help. Mark-the-manager examined the bug, said, "I'm sorry you've had this experience. (There! Someone who cares! Or at least knows enough to pretend to care.) And I will talk with that girl. Here's what I'll do: I will go with you to get another entree, but first we're going to stop by this register right over here and refund you that meal." Except for when he got to the register and explained to the lady behind it what she should do, he decided, "Actually, you know what? Let's just go ahead and refund the whole order." At this point I interrupted and said, "That is very nice of you, but I am more than happy to pay for our meal. I just really would like that one entree replaced. I don't need you to refund the entire ticket. Really. That is above and beyond the call of duty." He insisted, and I thanked him profusely, [and thought he should be awarded Manager-of-the-Year] and then he walked me to the eatery. I had to take a detour over to my Mark to find out what he'd ordered, and then sent him to take meet up with the waiting manager and take over from there. I wasn't thrilled about the upcoming awkward encounter with I-Could-Care-Less Girl. So my Mark met Mark-the-manager in front of the Chinese place where the manager was speaking quietly to the girl.

Mark-the-manager told my Mark to order anything he wanted, but my Mark, having already eaten half a meal, only ordered one of the two things he'd previously ordered, whereupon the manager instructed the girl, "Make that a double portion, then." (I know, don't we just love Manager-Mark?) When I asked Mark later what the girl was doing, he said, "Rolling her eyes." Me: "What? Are you serious? Right in front of the manager?" And he said, "Well, practically. She might as well have been. She was visibly perturbed."

Mark thanked the manager, brought his meal to the table and resumed eating while I filled him in on my conversation with the manager and what he'd done (in refunding us the $22). And I kept peering over at the Chinese place to see if the girl might be glaring at our table. I didn't see her. So then I had to analyze the whole ordeal. Out loud. I just couldn't get over the fact that she was so perturbed that there was a bug in our food. I mean, what did she think? That we'd brought the bug from home and placed it into their napkin so that we could try to get ourselves a free meal? I kept asking Mark, "It's not unreasonable for me to expect our food to be bug-free, is it? I mean, we paid for the dinner. I like to think I'm paying for food-without-bugs. I don't think I was being unreasonable. So then why was that girl so upset? It really did bother me that she was so upset. And I didn't want to get her in trouble, either. I did ask Mark before we left. "Do you think I should go try to talk with her? Make sure things are okay between us?" He didn't quite think that was necessary, so we finished up and left.

And that's the end of the bug drama. But no more Chinese food for me. [Thank goodness it wasn't Thai food.]

Mark is making fun of me because this is the longest post ever. "You're still writing that same post?" And truthfully, I'm sure none of you care about the bug that was in Mark's food tonight or the ordeal that followed. And I don't even have a spiritual application for you. My mind just doesn't usually find a parallel like that.

I'm going to go watch a video with Mark now. But I do want to know one thing: What would *you* do if you found a bug in your food? (Great. Mark just said, "What would Jesus do if He found a bug in His food?) So you may answer either question. Or neither. Because you probably haven't lasted this long in the post anyway.



  1. Hmm...what would I do if I found a bug in my food? I'd go to the register and ask for a refund. If the cashier wasn't willing to give me one, I'd esculate it to the store manager.

    I don't think I'd accept additional food from them and I probably wouldn't eat there again, but that's just me being paranoid! :)

  2. You never know with Thai food, authentic restaurants might have a selection of Thai Insect Snacks but at least there are no surprises!

    Enjoyed your story.


  3. I was out blogger walking and stopped by. Enjoyed the visit

  4. Gross!
    I have always had my money returned upon finding a bug ~ and yes, I say "always" because it has happened to me about six or seven times.

    As far as that rude girl ~ I remember being at Walmart two years ago and the checkout lane I got into had a very perturbed teenage girl as cashier. She flatly told me she had been denied her break and had to wait a half hour for the next person to come before she could take her said break. She then took my groceries, one by one, and slammed them into the bags, denting things, breaking things, a few labels off the cans came off... yikes! I was afraid to say anything, so I took my $130 worth of items quietly to the customer service counter and "tattled" on her. The girl at the customer service counter (quite obviously having the same rude gene) shrugged her shoulders and said, "Okay."

    When I got home, the food leaked onto my car seat and stained it. I called the store and asked for the General Manager. He apologized profusely and not only returned ALL my money, but fired the girl and offered to pay to have my van detailed (which was too much, so I kindly declined)

    I bet this Manager had the same awesome managerial gene as your Mark the Manager.
    Sorry you had bugs in your food! Seems like the next generation has a major chip on their shoulder more often than not.

  5. Hi Stacy :) I was going to suggest learning how to cook Chinese food at home, but honestly, after an inch worm in the formative years and a beetle bug in the mommy years - I would feel just the way you do!

    And, yes, I would have spoken to the attendant and then the manager. Health issues were at stake and not just your own.
    Have a glorious afternoon! Love, Q

  6. Oh man! You are so much more reserved than I ever would have been about the situation. In fact, my husband pretty much knows that I complain about bad service. And really, the problem with kids these days? For the most part they give terrible service!!! As a business owner myself, I'd say that manager did absolutely the right thing and he absolutely should have spoken with the girl about it. I get fired up about this kind of stuff. And no, you were not overreacting - I would have gone on and on about it afterwards too. And, the worst part is that I know where you're talking about and I LOVE their chinese food. Hmph.

  7. I would have done the same as you except I would have struggled to eat any more food after that.
    Some people around the world eat bugs as part of their staple diet.
    Ummm...that wouldn't be me!

  8. I think you did a great job- I probably wouldn't have ordered another ANYTHING! (Mark must have a better stomach than me) ;-)

    Sorry about your bad Chinese experience...maybe God will have you adopt from China- I am pretty sure that would cure any of the bad food memories ;-) (don't laugh, God could do it!)

    mama to 6
    one homemade and 5 adopted

  9. I eat out a ton. Between working in restaurants and reading a few books on restaurants, I can pretty much guarantee that you've eated far worse than the little fruit-fly sized bug. That's just yet another price you pay for the convenience of being able to eat on the go... and yet another reason why home cooked meals (especially Stacy-cooked meals, which I've been fortunate to enjoy on a number of occasions) are superior to eaten out meals. Besides, our bodies are resilient and can handle all sorts of bugs, spit, foreign objects, dirt, hair, fec... eh you get the point.

    Now, all that said, I still think that their exists a sort of social contract by which we, as restaurant-goers, pay for the privilege of momentarily ignoring the presence of said objects and the food establishments do their best to not remind us of such accidental additives. Typical compensation for the breach of this contract is free meal or at least a free plate, delivered courteously along with the statement [lie] that, "that's never happened before and I'm so sorry that you had have your meal interupted." The cashier's blatant disregard for this social contract is quite discouraging. Happily one of the requirements of management is a thorough understanding of this social contract.

    But that's just what I think. I have to eat out more often than not it seems these days for work, so my health and sanity depends on my ability to suspend certain knowledge. And eat out a lot less when I'm home.

  10. At 13 weeks pregnant, I would have to excuse myself and go... lose... the bug.

  11. Hi, found your blog by accident a few months back and have really been enjoying it!

    I just had to comment on this, since I live in Thailand. When I arrived, I really struggled with this! Mostly, I would find ants and other bugs in my food prepared at home by my inlaws maid ( I know, rough life, huh?) After a year, I am sad to say, my standards have shifted! Now, I just perform a bug check and remove any found, and then continue to eat. I just don't have the energy to be alarmed by it anymore! I often wonder, how many bugs have I eaten in the last year without knowing it??

    But if I were you, I would have done the same...

    And yes, Thai people, at least some do snack on bugs knowingly!!

    Thanks for making me smile today!

  12. All I know, Stacy, is that you are hilarious. What a treat to get me laughing out loud. You should seriously consider writing a book with all of your histerical (although not at the time, I know) stories. ... I can totally relate to how you were responding. I totally would have been hashing and rehashing the whole thing to see what in the world *I* had done wrong to perturb that girl. And to make everything OK between us? It makes me laugh every time I think of it - making sure things are OK between you and a stranger -but I only laugh because I would have and really have done the very same thing! Gotta keep the peace! ... And what would Jesus do if He found a bug in His food? (Mark is so funny. Maybe we should get bracelets that say W.W.J.D.I.H.F.A.B.I.H.F.?) Well, my theory is that he would eat it. Probably happened more often than not. Might even have been a delicacy, you know? :) Love you Stacy ~ thanks for making me chuckle. Awesome.

  13. Overwhelmed,
    Um, yeah... I'm with you. I'm not sure I would have wanted additional food after the incident, too.

    I followed your link but could only stay at that site for a second. Um, yikes!

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Six or seven times? Wow. And I thought *twice* was bad! :) Tell me where you eat and I'll make sure to stay away!

    Oh, Quinne-- somehow you seem far too sweet to me to ever go track down a manager.

    Oh boy, Cutzi. You and I should sit down and have a pow wow about customer service problems nowadays. I could add a LOT to the conversation, believe me. It's one of my own pet peeves, too.

    As for where the Chinese food was, yes... I'm sure you know. Two words: Never Again.

    Mrs. "M",
    I'm with you on the eating after the fact. Had it been in my OWN food, I would NOT have eaten any more.

    Yes, I think Mark is a bit tougher than us... *grin* But not so tough as to shrug off the bug and keep right on eating.

    Anonymous (aka Mike),
    I abhor your list of all the things we've probably eaten while eating out. EW.

    And I think you should pack yourself a bunch of peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches for the road. Knowing all that you know.

    I may just done the same had that bug been on my fork. Ick, ick, ick.

    Wow. A whole fresh perspective. I imagine under similar circumstances I would have to adapt, too! [While closing my eyes and praying for strength to eat the food before me, that is.]

    Oh, I'm so glad I made you laugh. A few times today I thought, "That was such a dumb post. Why did I post that?" But now that I know it had you laughing, I'm glad.

    I know-- it is a little ridiculous about me wanting to make things right with the girl. I just didn't want her to be angry with me. I think Mark thought I was a bit nuts when I asked him if I should go talk to her. :)

    Oh, and somehow I'm just not sure the new bracelets would be a big hit. Too many letters, you know?

    Take care, all of you!


  14. Hi Stacy,
    Thanks for entertaining me with that hilarious tale.

    I wish I could go and talk to a manager like that - I'm a wimp!

    Yay for Manager Mark. What a guy.

    I feel sorry for the unhappy girlie. I wonder why she wasn't more helpful? I guess we'll never know.

    Hope you have a bug free week.

  15. P.S. I love Mark's question, "What would Jesus do if He found a bug in His food?" Excellent!

    I'm not sure of the answer....

  16. Stacy,
    Your posts *always* capture me, from beginning to end!
    I love your descriptive posts!

  17. first of all, this both cracked me and disgusted me all at the same time. Aren't you just the powerful writer? *wink*

    I dont know what I would've done to be honest. There have been times that we've said stuff...but some people don't seem to care that there was a LONNNNGGG hair baked into our bread. *gag* But I'm so with you...thinking that you should've gone to the manager. Have you written the store a lovely note telling them all about Manager-Mark? Maybe he'll get a raise. :D

  18. Blech. I think I know what place you're talking about too. The closest one to where we are is a 30 minute drive, and Jace and I make the drive often just for a little taste of home. That's SO gross and I'm SO sorry that you had to deal with something SO gross. SO gross.


Thank you for commenting! I love hearing from you, and I will do
my best to reply back to you in the comment section.