Warning: Restaurant revenge can be expensive!

Just in case you happen to be a restaurant employee considering revenge...

Recently, a chef in Wisconsin who was arrested for placing "foreign objects" in a customer's steak. Having worked in food service, I know how rotten customers can be, particularly when one works at a chain restaurant. Making pizzas for a popular franchise in the DC area, I often found myself biting my lip as I watched my co-workers getting berated by self-important customers for a variety of spurious complaints. Many were the long, dark nights of the soul in which I found myself staring at a pizza, considering the pros and cons of adding "a little something extra."

Chef Ryan Kropp of West Bend, Wisconsin gave in to the dark side. After his manager asked him to prepare a replacement steak for customer Kevin Hansen, Ryan lovingly tucked some of his hair into the meat. Although he later claimed that the hair came from his face, photographs of Mr. Kropp suggest that he probably harvested the "foreign matter" from another place on his body. Simply speaking, Mr. Kropp doesn't look like he's quite capable of producing the requisite hair on his chin.

When my wife and I lived in Southwest Virginia, we often went to the local Texas Roadhouse, the chain for which Mr. Kropp worked. We enjoyed it a great deal, and generally found that the food was well prepared and reasonably priced. However, when the manager of our local restaurant moved on, the restaurant took a nosedive. One night, I was faced with an overcooked, greasy steak, considering whether or not to send it back to the kitchen. I decided against it, but my wife and I never returned. In retrospect, it's clear that I made the right choice.

Clearly, there are two lessons to be learned here. The first is that you should probably never ask a restaurant to replace your meal. Personally, I've sent a few things back, but generally refused a substitution or replacement. Simply speaking, I didn't really want to risk revenge on the part of the chef. After all, if the food is wretched enough to send back, I'm probably not in the mood to eat any more. Besides, I don't want to compound my original disappointment with a case of food poisoning, hepatitis, or whatever else my devious chef may decide to cook up.

The second lesson is, no matter how desperately you're tempted or how much you might have liked the film Waiting, you should never, ever, ever put foreign matter in a customer's food. Mr. Kropp is currently facing a felony charge of "placing foreign objects in edibles." In Wisconsin, this carries a maximum penalty of 48 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. That's a pretty steep price to pay for a moment of revenge, no matter how delicious.

Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. The high-point of his life was sending back an overcooked creme brulee in the Las Vegas Spago.

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