Beware the F.O.B. Card

I like writing restaurant reviews, especially when I’m impressed by the atmosphere, the food, the service; the whole experience of being at that restaurant. I try to only post good reviews; if I go somewhere that turns out to have so-so food and service and doesn’t do a thing for me atmosphere-wise, I don’t write a review–I just don’t go there again.

However, there are times when a bad review is necessary, if only to warn the public. For example, my two best friends and I went to a popular Italian chain restaurant once–only once. We never returned, and this is why: we ordered a new appetizer that had been advertised on television. It was a special roasted cheese dip that sounded wonderful.

My friend took the first bite, and made a face, then said, “try this.” I did, and made the same face. Same face with my other friend. It tasted like roasted cheese and Pine Sol. We called the waiter over and told him about it, and asked him to have the chef taste it. I’m guessing he didn’t say a word to anyone, because we heard nothing about it from him or anyone else. The item was quietly removed from our bill. Suffice it to say we will not be eating there again, but I did write a review to warn people.

That was the last bad review I wrote until recently. There is a popular fast food burger chain I pass by each time I go up north to visit my dad, and no matter how hungry I am, I don’t stop there to get anything. Ever. When I was going up each day to help Dad care for my mother during her final illness, that was about the only place on the way to grab a quick bite. The following is an excerpt from my review:

“Not only is the service slow, but it seems that this <popular fast food burger chain> is run by twelve year-old kids. The restaurant area is dirty, with napkins and old french fries on the floor, and what can be seen of the kitchen looks twice as dirty. As you approach the drive-up window, you can’t help but notice a window high up on the side of the building that features an ancient fly-strip loaded with dead flies.
There have been several times that we have waited in the drive-through so long that we just turned off the lights and the engine, along with several other ‘waiters.’

Whenever there is a long wait, I have yet to hear an apology–just some scared-looking kid at the window shoving a greasy bag at you. Each and every time we have to ask for napkins as well. What–no one uses napkins anymore?”
I also sent a copy of my review to the popular fast food burger chain corporate office, and received a letter of apology plus a gift card for–you guessed it–a FREE MEAL at that same popular fast food burger chain! This card had a special handwritten number on it, which I’m guessing is code for “please add dead flies to this person’s burger when they turn in this card.” I began calling cards like this “F.O.B.” (Fly on Burger) cards.


So, word to the wise, by all means post your reviews, good or bad. However, if you post a bad review and the restaurant sends you a free meal card as a token of  “good will,” you may want to throw it out. A free meal with possible food sabotage may cost you big-time in the ER.


I am not saying that this is true, but I wonder if it may be true. Either way, any FOB cards I receive are going straight to the old circular file.

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