Remember that episode on "Seinfeld?" George goes out for soup with Jerry- or maybe it was Elaine- and when he asks for the customary piece of bread that is supposed to come with his soup, the owner hastily replies, "No soup for you!" And with that, George is banished from the soup joint.
Simple Guy and I just returned from a short trip to MN for a friend's wedding and opted to go for a walk and let someone else cook for us tonight. So we ventured to our favorite diner and we were so pleased when we got immediate seating outside in the shade. Ah yes, we love to dine al fresco, even at greasy spoons.
And so we ordered our usual array of breakfast foods that we share so we can have a little of everything. And perhaps at the site of the first pigeon poking around nibbling at crumbs in the outdoor seating area we should have known what was to come. But the allure of eating outside, watching the VERY colorful crowd that is our neighbors strolling to and fro kept us outside and we both stamped our feet and away the pigeon went.
Then the food arrived and we began eating. Oh, it was so good tonight- the crunchy french toast was indeed crunchy and the eggs were scrambled well and the hash browns had just a hint of oil and were crispy and perfect.
And then came another pigeon and he wanted some dinner, too. So he began pecking away at the bits of french fries and the nubs of bread. And then came the little girl back to her table across the way from us and then went the pigeon..........right over food and he wasthisclose to our eats. And Simple Guy and I looked at each other and then quickly looked at our food, looking for any evidence of a filthy city pigeon taking flight over our table.
Alas, we found none and I proceeded to put a bite of french toast in my mouth. And that's when Simple Guy said, "Do you think we should be eating this? I mean, what if that pigeon had fleas or something." And then I pushed my plate away and declared myself done with tonight's meal despite having only eaten a third of it.
So we summoned for our waitress, wanting to explain to her what happened. And while we waited for her arrival, the first pigeon came back around and then swiftly flew over our table. And then we knew we had it. Simple Guy went inside and got us a table, where we were hoping to order another plate of french toast, since we had not quite gotten to eat that outside.
So we got our second plate of crunchy french toast, ate it, and then asked for our check. And wouldn't you know it, we were charged for both orders of french toast. So Simple Guy called our waitress over and kindly stated, "We would have expected to not have to pay for the second order of french toast, given the circumstances." And then we explained that the reason for the pigeon problem in their seating area is all of the food they do not sweep up after guests leave. She went to the manager and came back with this answer: "It is the pleasure of sitting outside to have the birds fly over your food." In other words, you are paying for the second order of french toast.
So we left her a tip (one that accounted for paying for the second order) and then went to the cash register and spoke with the man there.
"We had issues with pigeons outside in your seating area and do not feel we should have to pay for this second order," stated Simple Guy.
"What do you mean? Did the bird touch your food or something like that?"
"No, it did not touch our food, but it flew very low over it and that is disgusting," said we.
"What are you proposing we do for you?"
"We do not want to pay for the second order, we will pay for everything else."
"Wait a minute." and then the cashier steps away and speaks to what appears to be the manager or owner.
"It is the pleasure of sitting outside to have the birds around you," says the manager or owner as he walks towards us.
"No, it is filthy to have pigeons flying over your food and it is because the seating area has so much food on the ground that you have pigeons hanging around."
"No, if you found a hair on your salad outside I would not give it to you for free because the wind could have blown it on there."
"But filthy birds flying low over a table is not the same and they are only around because......."
"What do you want me to do?"
"We do not feel we should have to pay for the second order of french toast, but we will pay for everything else."
"No, no. You know what, you owe nothing." And with that, the man takes the check from Simple Guy and turns and walks away mumbling under his breath while half the restaurnat looks on.
And with that, Simple Guy and I left the diner and quickly realized that we could not go there again because of the spectacle the staff made of this and we can only wonder what people would do to our food if we went there again. In the grand scheme of life, it's no big deal.
We have eaten outside at many places in this city and have never had anything like this happen. In fact, we cannot ever recall having to deal with pigeons in the seating area of any place we have eaten at.
So, any thoughts on this? What would you have done if you were us?