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Would you return to a restaurant that poisoned you?

Would you return to a restaurant that poisoned you?
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  • Would you return to a restaurant that poisoned you?

    Post #1 - April 18th, 2007, 2:25 pm
    Post #1 - April 18th, 2007, 2:25 pm Post #1 - April 18th, 2007, 2:25 pm
    No, I'm not talking about Russian-spy style poisoning like slipping someone a mickey in a bowl of oatmeal to bring them down. I mean regular, old, run-of-the-mill salmonella poisoning.

    Without naming names, I recently got over a bout of salmonella poisoning which I know came from a specific restaurant. I know this because my friend, who had a few tastes of what I ate, became sick, too, although with a lesser case.

    One thing that surprised me after talking to people about this is how common this type of food poisoning is and how many people have had at least one bout with it (this was my first). I'm generally skeptical when anyone claims they had "food poisoning," as I tend to think people attribute routine GI problems as food poisoining. However, many people described having the exact same symptoms as I did and a similar length of illness, so I'm inclined to believe them.

    Here's the dilemma. This is a place that I frequent at least twice a month. I like it, but I'm a little gunshy now. I realize that salmonella can happen just as easy in the home (never in my home), but is it just stupid to consider going back there? (FYI - I haven't filed a health department complaint.)

    So, I'm curious, for those of you in my shoes, would you hestitate to return to a restaurant that served food that you know poisoned you, or would you chalk up to bad luck, pull yourself up by your bootstraps and go again? (Please don't name names - it's not necessary to this question and a violation of LTH's posting guidelines.)
  • Post #2 - April 18th, 2007, 2:33 pm
    Post #2 - April 18th, 2007, 2:33 pm Post #2 - April 18th, 2007, 2:33 pm
    Yes, I'd absolutely hesitate. I'm not sure whether I'd boycott the place forever, but who knows.

    Were you eating food that, normally prepared, isn't a risk for salmonella (e.g. chicken, or vegetables, or somesuch) or an item that generally carries with it some risk, if you eat it the "normal" way (e.g. raw oysters)?

    If the former, my boycott might be permanent. The latter, well, I'd probably just not order oysters there again.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #3 - April 18th, 2007, 2:39 pm
    Post #3 - April 18th, 2007, 2:39 pm Post #3 - April 18th, 2007, 2:39 pm
    gleam wrote:Yes, I'd absolutely hesitate. I'm not sure whether I'd boycott the place forever, but who knows.

    Were you eating food that, normally prepared, isn't a risk for salmonella (e.g. chicken, or vegetables, or somesuch) or an item that generally carries with it some risk, if you eat it the "normal" way (e.g. raw oysters)?

    If the former, my boycott might be permanent. The latter, well, I'd probably just not order oysters there again.


    The food type fell into the latter "some risk" category.
  • Post #4 - April 18th, 2007, 3:13 pm
    Post #4 - April 18th, 2007, 3:13 pm Post #4 - April 18th, 2007, 3:13 pm
    Would and have. And I'd do it again. I operate under the theory that no matter how careful a restaurant is, they're going to poison somebody sometime.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #5 - April 19th, 2007, 5:53 am
    Post #5 - April 19th, 2007, 5:53 am Post #5 - April 19th, 2007, 5:53 am
    Many years ago I got food poisoning from a well-known national chain the first time I ate there. I would never go back again, not to any restaurant in that chain. The memories of my night (and day) in the bathroom are still too vivid for me to risk it. :shock:

    Suzy
    " There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life."
    - Frank Zappa
  • Post #6 - April 19th, 2007, 6:11 am
    Post #6 - April 19th, 2007, 6:11 am Post #6 - April 19th, 2007, 6:11 am
    Did you say anything to the management about this?
  • Post #7 - April 19th, 2007, 7:43 am
    Post #7 - April 19th, 2007, 7:43 am Post #7 - April 19th, 2007, 7:43 am
    I once gave myself food poisoning. That's why I don't cook.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #8 - April 19th, 2007, 8:24 am
    Post #8 - April 19th, 2007, 8:24 am Post #8 - April 19th, 2007, 8:24 am
    LikestoEatout wrote:Did you say anything to the management about this?


    No, I didn't. At the time, I was in high school and it didn't occur to me. I'd certainly do so now, however, if the level of certainty were the same (shared lunch with one other person, didn't see him at any other time, we bot got suddenly and violently ill within 15 minutes of each other later that evening... doesn't get much more certain than that :-)
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #9 - April 19th, 2007, 8:43 am
    Post #9 - April 19th, 2007, 8:43 am Post #9 - April 19th, 2007, 8:43 am
    Never got it from a restaurant, got it once from a weekend party in Wisconsin. A whole group of about ten all got sick, at various levels, and we never did diagnose exactly what it was.

    Funny thing is I ate at a fast food place on the way home from that party, and a later that night got sick, and it took years to go back to that place, since the memory was of throwing up its food.

    But back to the question - I recently went back to a restaurant who had served me a bowl of curry with hair in it. Lots of hair. (One hair and I might not even say anything, 2 and I'm complaining, 3 and I've got the gingles). They were apologetic and nobody paid for anything so I felt they deserved another chance. I ate with too much aprehension the second time to enjoy it.

    I had a place serve me raw chicken once, and forced me to pay for it. I won't ever be back there.
  • Post #10 - April 19th, 2007, 9:09 am
    Post #10 - April 19th, 2007, 9:09 am Post #10 - April 19th, 2007, 9:09 am
    Many a moon ago a young lady I dated served me raw shrimp with cocktail sauce, she bought them at the grocery and, having never seen a shrimp that was not cooked, assumed they were ready to eat. I'm not talking pristine sweet shrimp (Ami Ebi) from a Japanese restaurant, but standard grocery store fish counter shrimp.

    It was the start of a, hopefully, romantic evening and I not only ate the raw shrimp, but told her they were one of the best things I'd ever eaten. I did not feel it was in my best short term interest to critique her cooking skills. ;)

    Never got so much as a stomach twinge from the shrimp.

    Enjoy,
    Gary (who appears to be entering his anecdotage)
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #11 - April 19th, 2007, 10:10 am
    Post #11 - April 19th, 2007, 10:10 am Post #11 - April 19th, 2007, 10:10 am
    Food poisoning happens more often than we think it does, by several orders of magnitude.

    I twice got food poisoning from canned soup. It wasn’t until the second time (same soup, purchased at the same time) that I was sure it was food poisoning. I wrote to both the mega-corp that made the soup and the mega-chain that sold the soup and never heard back a thing. It took about ten years, but today I have been known to eat that soup again.

    I onetime got violently ill after eating a trio of salads (tuna, chicken, and one other I can’t remember) from a casual dining chain downtown. I took a day off work to recover the lost calories. When I returned, I had a meeting with a gentleman, which was interrupted several time by him suddenly running to the bathroom. Each time he looked more flushed. Seems he ate the same thing, from the same place, the next day. We both now knew we were poisoned.

    If I had reported it to the restaurant, I might have prevented others from getting sick, but I didn’t. I don’t think that was the right thing to do, but often times its hard to tell whether one’s been food poisoned or just suffering through the good old stomach flu.

    That incident was four years ago, and I have yet to return to it or its clones since. No big loss.

    -ramon
  • Post #12 - April 19th, 2007, 10:10 am
    Post #12 - April 19th, 2007, 10:10 am Post #12 - April 19th, 2007, 10:10 am
    This absolutely happened to me. And in much the same manner -- a friend got it and I got it -- we both only shared one item and we both were sick pretty close to the same time. She was officially diagnosed and I just lived with it for almost 3 days -- really stupid in retrospect but we hadn't compared notes and i thought i had a really bad flu.

    ANYHOW...i actually dropped into the restaurant (which i will of course not name but it is a restaurant that's been discussed on this board in a positive manner and you'd really not associate with this particular thing) about a week later and had a quiet word with the manager. I wasn't looking for anything but to give a word of warning and you'd have thought I'd called the guy a Nazi to his face. I was practically run out of the restaurant with a broom and actually treated very harshly by this man. It was a horrible experience and it absolutlely convinced me never to return to this high profile place. Had he treated me with respect, then I might have given it another shot. I didn't even approach him at a busy time -- the restaurant was practically empty when I dropped in.

    I swear to all my fellow LTH'ers that I simply wanted to make him aware of what happened and to tell him what my friend and I had eaten.

    So...no...i won't ever experience that again.

    shannon
  • Post #13 - April 19th, 2007, 11:44 am
    Post #13 - April 19th, 2007, 11:44 am Post #13 - April 19th, 2007, 11:44 am
    Probably not, tho it has never happened to me. I only say probably not, because it would depend on my previous experience with the place. If it was the only visit, I would conclude they had some problems with food handling and choose to not go back. I had a similar experience with a place that served me some old pork recently.

    But if I had gone many times and enjoyed the food with no ill effects, I would assume it was most likely just bad luck, and after an appropriate waiting period, I would definitely return.

    So I guess the short answer is - do you want to go back? If and when you do, then go back.

    Now if you get sick again, that would be it for me.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #14 - April 21st, 2007, 11:51 am
    Post #14 - April 21st, 2007, 11:51 am Post #14 - April 21st, 2007, 11:51 am
    I was once poisoned by the kitchen of an upper-mid tier hotel chain in a small (110K population) southern city. Because of the circumstances and timing of the onset of illness, there is no doubt that it was their Eggs Benedict that did me in. I was sick as a dog for a week.

    Contacted the on-site mamagement to advise them of the situation and register my dissatisfaction, and received a dismal and unsatisfying response. It didn't occur to me to call the county health department, although I doubt that would have done much good anyway.

    This was the grandest and largest hotel in the town, to which I was forced to return often due to business imperatives, and the annual dealer meeting for the product we sold and serviced was held at the hotel in question. Consequently, I was forced on occasion to stay on the premises, but I resisted eating anything there for years. I finally broke down and consumed a few meals there years later because of time pressures and convenience issues (not to mention hunger).

    Thankfully (for many reasons), I'm no longer associated with that particular product, and have no reason ever to return to that backwater burgh or its leading hotel adn conference center.
  • Post #15 - April 21st, 2007, 4:23 pm
    Post #15 - April 21st, 2007, 4:23 pm Post #15 - April 21st, 2007, 4:23 pm
    easy in... easy out.

    hey... sh*t happens - one doesn't have four cheeks, for nothing.

    (now, if only... restaurant employees would stop treating the the soap dispenser as some sort of 'winless' slot machine.)

    my recent 'bout' came about, after lunching in an establishment that touts it's 1938 'born on date' - on its outdoor sign.

    giving the manager 'holy hell' over an embarassing recital of intestinal discomfiture - won't get you anything more than a comp and perhaps, some muffled giggles from the waitstaff..

    my solution, if you have more than one menu fave.... 'clench it' and revisit.
  • Post #16 - April 21st, 2007, 4:29 pm
    Post #16 - April 21st, 2007, 4:29 pm Post #16 - April 21st, 2007, 4:29 pm
    While some types of food poisoning can take only an hour or two for you to exhibit symptoms, some can take 24 to 72 hours. By the time you get sick, you may blame the most recent thing/place you ate, but that could be incorrect.
    When I grow up, I'm going to Bovine University!
  • Post #17 - April 21st, 2007, 7:55 pm
    Post #17 - April 21st, 2007, 7:55 pm Post #17 - April 21st, 2007, 7:55 pm
    If I liked a restaurant and had previously had fine experiences dining there, I would probably go back after having gotten sick one time (full disclosure: I have an iron stomach and very rarely have even gas from food; I've never gotten what I would call "food poisoning."). Keep in mind, even if a restaurant does everything in it's power to keep things sanitary (good cleaning practices, excellent employee procedures, and top-notch vendors) somethings are out of their control. Think of the spinach incident a couple months back.
  • Post #18 - April 23rd, 2007, 8:44 am
    Post #18 - April 23rd, 2007, 8:44 am Post #18 - April 23rd, 2007, 8:44 am
    figmolly wrote:Keep in mind, even if a restaurant does everything in it's power to keep things sanitary (good cleaning practices, excellent employee procedures, and top-notch vendors) somethings are out of their control. Think of the spinach incident a couple months back.


    I'm not so sure I buy that explanation as a general rule.

    So far, like many above me, the associations with the restaurant are so bad that I can't even contemplate going back; if and when that feeling will pass, I don't know.

    But, even if I didn't have those lingering associations, my question to myself and this board was, is it just stupid to go back?

    I'm still on the fence. Some above feel that it's inevitable for a kitchen to poison someone. In my case, I ate a food that carries some risk. But the reality is, I don't know enough about the operation of that kitchen to know whether or not they have indeed done everything right to conclude that this was the result of the inevitable anomaly rather than sloppiness or bad health practicles. This restaurant is part of a two-restaurant chain, and I have noticed over the last couple of visits that management there has gotten a little slack. (It's the smaller operation of the chain.) The quality of service has plummeted (the last time I was there, the bartender snuck in a cigarette break outside the restaurant while customers were waiting and came back reeking of smoke). It never seems as if anyone is really in charge. That, to my mind, is a bad thing. So, for now, I'm not sure if I'll go back because with operations slipping like this, it seems just as likely that the kitchen is getting slack as well, and that only increases exponentially the possibility that an incident like this will happen again.

    But I might feel differently if there wasn't evidence of the operation being run shoddily on the whole. Obviously, opinions will differ.
  • Post #19 - April 24th, 2007, 2:56 pm
    Post #19 - April 24th, 2007, 2:56 pm Post #19 - April 24th, 2007, 2:56 pm
    Somewhat related, I read possibly the stupidest article I have ever read (and that says something) in today's WSJ called Mayonnaise Happens: Business Travelers Try Hard to Stay Well.

    Of particular amusement and relevance were the sections on avoiding food poisoning, which included such gems as "Studies show that "97% of all travelers will make a food or beverage error within 72 hours of arrival..."" The other three percent are fasting?
    And "up to 70% of Americans traveling in a developing country for two weeks will develop what is known as travellers' diarrhea." Up to 70% - does that mean it starts at your feet and will never get above your pectorals, or just that it could be zero?

    But my favorite is the guy who got sick six times traveling to Ireland, and now just eats McDonalds' pancakes for breakfast and lunch and skips dinner. I imagine I am not alone in weighing the options and thinking I would opt for diarrhea first, rather than McDonalds twice a day and skip dinner? Not to even address the issue of what in the world could be making him sick in Ireland????

    Just amazing stuff.
    Last edited by dicksond on April 25th, 2007, 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #20 - April 24th, 2007, 2:59 pm
    Post #20 - April 24th, 2007, 2:59 pm Post #20 - April 24th, 2007, 2:59 pm
    dicksond wrote:I imagine I am not alone in weighing the options and thinking I would opt for diarrhea first, rather than McDonalds twice a day and skip dinner? Not to even address the issue of what in the world could be making him sick in Ireland????


    And don't they have a Walgreens or something in Ireland? Jeez.
  • Post #21 - April 24th, 2007, 3:08 pm
    Post #21 - April 24th, 2007, 3:08 pm Post #21 - April 24th, 2007, 3:08 pm
    dicksond wrote:But my favorite is the guy who got sick six times traveling to Ireland, and now just eats McDonalds' pancakes for breakfast and lunch and skips dinner. I imagine I am not alone in weighing the options and thinking I would opt for diarrhea first, rather than McDonalds twice a day and skip dinner? Not to even address the issue of what in the world could be making him sick in Ireland????

    Just amazing stuff.


    No - you are not alone. :)

    Now, you would think all the good bacteria in the Guinness would help his digestion tremendously.
  • Post #22 - April 24th, 2007, 7:57 pm
    Post #22 - April 24th, 2007, 7:57 pm Post #22 - April 24th, 2007, 7:57 pm
    If it happens on a first or second trip, I'll never go back.

    If there is food I really, really, REALLY love there, I'll likely be back. But it might be awhile.

    But if it happens again (which it has, once) I'll go hungry before eating there again. And I have.

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