It’s a kindness to describe this week’s batch of open sores as customers, given how averse they were to paying. Nor were they eager to observe the rudiments of social behavior. A disdain for acting even remotely like a thinking human is what landed at least two on our rogue’s list, as you’ll see.
Honorable mention: A hungry hideaway
Fantasies about being locked in a candy store after closing came true for a Czech man who wreaked so much havoc that police opted not to release his name. The 38-year-old hid in the bathroom of a Prague restaurant until the place shut down, then treated himself to a feast. Some might say a banquet. The stowaway reportedly took a bite or two of six geese, three ducks, some foie gras and whatever wines caught his fancy. The cost was pegged at the U.S. equivalent of $184. He may have had gourmet tastes and the appetite of a lion, but his was not the mind of a master criminal. He opted for a snooze instead of leaving the restaurant, and was awakened by the arrival of police the next morning.
Second runner up: Thieves with crooked pinkies
Several stories arose from New York City this week of high-end customers swiping stuff from restaurants with an audacity befitting the city’s reputation. We’re not talking about sugar packets or rolls of toilet paper. Patrons are walking out with place settings, napery and even architectural pieces. Mascots are viewed as kitschy household additions just waiting to be swiped.
Runner up: The macho man
A guest at an Applebee’s in Port Charlotte, Fla., picked a fight with a waitress, then talked trash to another customer who tried to intercede, according to local accounts. It would have been a routine shin kick for the casual operation if it were not for one crucial point: The guest who sparked the incident was armed and wanted everyone to know it. He had a pistol tucked in his waistband, with the butt of the gun clearly visible. For his display of might and threats to fellow diners, the 47-year-old armed patron was arrested. Apparently he was a former policeman.
Customer nightmare of the week: It’s just a hungry baby
The incident came to light this week, after actually occurring a few days earlier, but the judges allowed it because of doubts the villain has changed her nightmarish ways.
That anonymous soul earned the top honor by hounding a young mother out of a casual restaurant in Houston. The mom’s crime: Breastfeeding her infant. Not in public, but in the ladies’ room, where she was confronted by our incensed prize earner. Imagine doing something that personal in a public bathroom! Mother and child obliged the outraged fellow guest by going outside the restaurant to a secluded spot on the patio—only to be stalked by the irate customer and confronted again.
There’s a happy ending to the story: The restaurant, El Patio, apparently didn’t learn of the incident until details were posted on a Facebook page. Management responded by donating a portion of an afternoon’s sales to Mothers Milk Bank, a pro-breastfeeding group.