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The waiter brings you a slightly incorrect order. Send it back.

Agree. You're paying for a product and if you don't get what you ordered you should send it back to have it corrected or replaced.

Disagree. The time it will take to have your meal fixed or re-prepared isn't worth the slight fix.

Yeah but the whole point of going to a restaurant is to get food you probably won't be able to make at home served to you. If that doesn't happen, what's the point of going out?

Yeah but a lot of people like to request substitutions or augmentations to menu items. And it's not because of allergies, they simply don't like certain items. That's unfair to the waiter who has to translate your specific tastes.

Fine but that seems pretty common these days. If a waiter can't take a slight order change they probably shouldn't be doing their job.

Fine but think about the chain of events. You place the non-standard order. The waiter jots it down on paper. Hands that paper to the order-taker in the kitchen, who then has to scream across the kitchen to the chefs that there's an unusual order being placed. The odds of slight mixups are quite high.

OK but a lot of times the mixups happen not because of broken translations, but because kitchen staff just gets into a habit of making foods a certain way and they simply forget to make the requested tweaks. That's on the restaurant, not the patron.

OK but the restaurant never advertised menu items being prepared the way you're asking for them. They're not failing on what they promised, they're failing on your specific request. While that's still a failure, you should stick with the meal as prepared and eat around anything you don't like.

Sure but what if you paid $50 for that plate? Or $100? $250? Seems like you would want exactly what you ordered.

Sure but at that price point, the waiters are likely doing a perfect job of explaining the food. You're not going to get a wrong order at that kind of restaurant unless you misinterpreted the menu item and ordered the wrong thing.

But at lower price point restaurants, sending food back helps teach the waiters and chefs to be more diligent. You're actually doing them a favor.

But if they spit in your food, it's probably not worth teaching anyone a lesson.


The Devil's Advocate blog is an experimental format that poses a question, then has two opposing voices share their thought process as they defend why they agree or disagree. Learn more about the Devil's Advocate card game here. Sign-up below to get on the pre-order list.