Hilarious notions can go nightmarishly bad in less time than is needed to wake an employee, show respect for a beloved elf or consider the fallout from an online con. But restaurateurs and customers shushed their inhibitions and indulged some decidedly wicked impulses this week, securing them a prime spot on Santa’s naughty list.
Here are the nightmares they fostered.
A would-be patron of a Waffle House in South Carolina wasn’t exactly attending choir practice before he staggered into the unit at 3 a.m., a walking indictment of some bar’s responsible-service training. Alex Bowen admitted to anyone who’d listen that he was drunk. But, he stressed afterward, he was also craving a Waffle House double bacon cheesesteak.
So when Bowen couldn’t find anyone in the Waffle House to cook it for him—the lone employee at that hour was fast asleep—he stepped behind the counter and whipped up the sandwich himself.
To ensure the transgression would not go unnoticed, he also took a number of photos as he devoured the 24-hour chain’s specialty and posted them on Facebook.
Then he cleaned up the kitchen and left, the employee still in the land of nod.
Bowen saw no reason to be abashed about what he’d done. He came back to the restaurant the next day to pay the manager for the cheesesteak. And he ended with an offer to work for the chain—presumably as a cook. There was no confirmation that he’ll replace the employee who nodded off.
Undocumented alien on the shelf
A good-natured jab at the Elf on the Shelf backfired on a nuclear scale for a pizzeria in Dayton, Ohio. Nicknamed Ezzo, the familiar Christmas icon was pictured on the Facebook page of Spinoza’s Gourmet Pizza & Salads, embracing a figurine of the pizzeria’s proprietor. Ezzo appears to be slightly darker in skin tone than the elf depicted in the popular holiday story of the Elf on the Shelf. Still, so far, so good.
But Spinoza’s identified Ezzo as an “undocumented munchkin,” touching off a firestorm. The establishment was slammed as racist and accused of stoking the controversy raging over people living in the country illegally and how the problem should be addressed.
The Facebook post was subsequently removed.
Best restaurant in London: A garden shed?
A journalist across the pond decided he’d prove how fallible citizen-reviewer web guides like TripAdvisor could be. Enlisting help from friends, Oobah Butler bombarded TripAdvisor with positive reviews for a place called The Shed. He also set up a website for the establishment, complete with a phone number.
The praise was so effusive and voluminous that The Shed moved up TripAdvisor’s rankings to become the top-rated place in London.
The problem for users of the popular guide: The Shed was actually Butler’s garden shed.
Butler explained that he formerly earned money by writing bogus restaurant reviews for sites like TripAdvisor, and wanted to show how unreliable those guides can be.
This week's head-spinning restaurant moments included a suggestion in court that the "b" in IHOb stood for "bad news for Applebee's." That's just one of the long-shot gambles that came to light as oddsmakers considered the likelihood of restaurants charging into sports betting and who'll win the chain vs. independent bout.