Fast Food Horror Stories

Want fries with that?

MainStreet asked for your worst fast food experiences and, as usual, you did not disappoint us. We also found some pretty classic examples of fast food horrors on various complaint and message boards. Frankly, we had to cut some stories out of concern that you all could be eating while reading this and we didn’t want to spur an online barf-o-rama (WARNING: graphic and hilarious clip from Stand By Me). Here are some of the grossest and weirdest fast food encounters out there. Photo Credit: brentdpayne


McDonald’s France

This encounter is from Claude, who was less than blown away by coffee quality at a McDonald’s “restaurant” in France: “I had stopped on the highway to get a cup of coffee, I did not expect it to be good, but it was atrocious. I then observed the guy at the counter: he put the leftover coffee from the  customers' cups back in the pot. This was the only time that I ever protested: usually, I do not say anything, just do not go back, but this was really too much to bear.” An atrocity, to be sure. Revolutions have started for less. Photo Credit: cyklo


Surprise Illness

From Lee: “10 years ago I ate breakfast at the McDonald's restaurant in Phenix City, Ala. before church. By the time service was over, I felt a little ill. The next day I felt bad. Really bad. I started throwing up and running a fever. It felt like a flu. I left work and hobbled home, barely able to drive. My (then) girlfriend left work and drove me to the doctor the next day. By then my stomach was hurting. The doctors started prepping me for surgery. They thought my appendix was about to burst. I'm glad they ran a few more tests, because it ended up being food poisoning. Needless to say, I never eat any meat products from ANY McDonald’s again.” Now, there’s clearly no way to prove that the McDonald’s breakfast was the cause of this guy’s food poisoning, but he seemed pretty convinced. Photo Credit: lautenbach


Roach Tacos, Anyone?

Sent in by Shannan: “Taco Bell, Rock Hill, SC. Years ago had a roach crawl out of my taco. They said, sorry, the exterminator was here today and they are upset.” Reminds me of the Taco Bell Ohio urban legend sent to us today by Rema: “Apparently a woman ate something there that left her mouth very, very swollen with bumps. After some time, she went to the doctor and he discovered that she had eaten a roach and it laid eggs all over [her] mouth. Legend goes if she had waited any longer... they would have hatched.” Read more about this cockroach legend here. Photo Credit: tornatore


Subway Freebie

Morgan’s experience: “I work at a non-profit in Washington, D.C., and my office is in the same building as a Subway, very near Capitol Hill.  I used to eat at this place almost daily.  One Friday a few months ago, I bought a tuna sub on my way out of the office heading to my weekend job. When I arrived at my weekend job, I started eating the sub.  After taking three bites, I felt something hard and sharp in my mouth. I spit it out, and discovered that it was a large, dirty fingernail clipping. I immediately started heaving. I have not been back to that Subway since, even though it is the nearest and most economical food option available during work hours. I really liked Subway too, and in the morning, my office is filled with the delicious smell of their baking buns, but I cannot bring myself to go back. It is pure torture, both tempting me constantly while simultaneously reminding me of that wretched fingernail.” If you love Subway that much, go to another one, dude—preferably one where the “sandwich artists” (they’re really called that) don’t clip their fingernails over the box of tuna meat. Photo Credit: trekkyandy


More Fingernails

From Judy: “I was happily sipping at my first iced coffee from a brand new Dunkin Donuts. I felt something not quite liquid come up through the straw and into my mouth. I fished it out. Did I mention it was IN MY MOUTH? It was a fingernail. A bitten and torn off fingernail. To my credit, I didn't throw up. I instead called the manager, who asked me if it could be a piece of plastic from a cup. I offered to bring it to him. He took a look at it and said, ‘That is a fingernail. A gross, disgusting fingernail.’ He seriously said that. He asked me what he could do to make it better. I wanted to say, ‘Pop that in your mouth and gnaw on it a while.’ I settled for a DD gift card. I expected like $20 or $50. It was $5. I know these things just sometimes happen, and it was nothing done on purpose, so I do continue to visit that Dunkin. Since, I've never had a problem. And it is my favorite DD because the people are always very friendly and helpful.” Would you chew on someone’s dirty fingernail if it meant $5 in free donuts? Serious question. I’m considering it. Photo Credit: taberandrew


Call The Cops

From Dan Mirvish, co-author of I Am Martin Eisenstadt: a few years back he was “in a wheelchair and went through a Wendy's drive-in. Not only didn't they serve me, but they called the Utah State Patrol which sent four vehicles to detain me. (it was written up at the time in the Washington Post) Though it was arguable whether or not it was technically a violation of the ADA, what's clear is that it was just bad business, and bad customer service. After the incident, I called McDonald's corporate office and asked if they would have done the same thing - and they said, of course not.  Same with KFC (which apparently has a drive-through window in Salt Lake City that regularly serves the Governor's disability commissioner who's in a wheelchair). Wendy's eventually apologized to me.” There you have it: McDonald’s is less likely than Wendy’s to call the cops on a customer for the unspeakable crime of being in a wheelchair. Four patrol vehicles were sent? Perhaps Utah should slash its state patrol budget. Four vehicles for one guy in a wheelchair seems, well, excessive. Photo Credit: fat_hobo


How ‘Bout Some Glass in Your Burger?

Posted online by Mark: “When I was 15 I worked at a locally owned burger joint. We'd get crazy busy on Friday and Sunday nights with people travelling thru. One Sunday night I was working on the grill, grilling burger buns and adding the fixings, right next to the ‘main’ cook dude who took care of the burgers. We had this glass plate that we used to hold bacon flat on the grill, and as he was putting this away he hit my arm with it, the glass plate hit the grill and broke into a million pieces, all over the burgers that were cooking there. Our boss, the owner, told us to pick the glass out of the burgers!!! Thing is, it was a small restaurant and customers who were inside could see the grill area. So there we were, picking small shards of glass out of burgers that were soon to be eaten. Man.” I would’ve quit over that… just wouldn’t feel comfortable serving glass-ridden meat to customers, or small children. Bad for the karma, you know. Photo Credit: polymath74


Tasty Cigarette Smell, Nefarious Napkin

One user posted this account of an experience at McDonald’s: “I ordered a Sausage and Gravy biscuit this morning and when I opened my bag, I smelled cigarettes. The fact that I don't smoke or have ever smoked a cigarette before in my life let me know right away that it belonged to someone who served me. I gave the bag back to the girl before I pulled off and told her that there was something really bad in my bag. She looked in and the look on her face instantly gave her away. ‘Oh I gave you the wrong napkin’. She then yelled to the back and asked them to give her another sausage biscuit and they yelled up and said ‘we only have one’. I overheard the girls in the back laughing in unbelief when she told them her mistake. She scurried to put my order in the bag and as she handed it to me said ‘Sorry bout that’. I'm not one for getting people in trouble or ratting anyone out, but that was just NASTY. I had to share. Needless to say, I had NO appetite afterwards and will not go back to that McDonalds again.” Hey, at least it wasn’t lit. Photo Credit: nufkin


Dead Bee In The Fries

This experience was posted by Jo: “Today my husband went to Wendy's to get me lunch and brought back a hamburger and small fry. I was eating the fries when half way through the fries I saw something shook the box and a dead bee in two pieces, was in my fries.” Extra protein. Photo Credit: kristiand


Carl’s Jr. Hygiene Issues

Posted by a customer in California: “I went to Carl's Jr. restaurant to buy a spicy chicken sandwich on October 22, 2009. I went to use the restroom before I order[ed] my sandwich. This was around 8:20 a.m., I was waiting in the bathroom, for a lady to finish using the toilet. The lady came out of the stall after flushing the toilet, she was an employee of the restaurant, she left the bathroom without washing her hands, over the sink it says employees wash your hands she didn't.” Oh. No. She. Didn’t. Photo Credit: scaredykat


The Colonel’s Pot Pies

Posted by someone in Mattison, Illinois: “saw the ad about pot pies from kfc, since I have been going to kfc for many years, I thought I would try the pot pies. In the ad, they say the pot pie is full of carrots and peas, I bought two, when I started to eat them I noticed ONE SLICE OF CARROT, SO I COUNTED ALL THE PEAS AND CARROTS, WHAT I FOUND WAS, ONE CARROT SLICE AND FIVE PEAS, This is not what they are advertising. This is false advertising.” You saw the ad about the pot pies. The pot pies were not as you expected. The pot pies were from KFC, which specializes in large chunks of delicious deep-fried chicken flesh, not pot pies and definitely not vegetables. Don’t buy them again, friend. Photo Credit: vizzzual


Beware of the Red Shirt Lady

Posted by a customer in New Jersey: “My partners were working for construction in the area and had to pick up some food, served by the red shirt lady at this Burger King on Park Ave. She screamed at them because they spoke broken english. She said that they made her drive thru ran slow. There is no need for her to be screaming at customers like that. We are customers and we always pay for the food. We bring the store some business, we do not steal from them. The managers should pay more attention on what every employee is doing because this type of lady will make customers go away.” C’mon, Red Shirt Lady. Treat the construction workers with some respect. Chances are their jobs are even harder than yours. That said, let’s everyone try to keep the drive thru moving. We are impatient, too. Photo Credit: jurek d


Non-delivery of Goods

Posted by a McDonald’s customer earlier this month: “After waiting, I finally placed my order (2 snack wraps and a large Coke), pulled up, paid and pulled up to the second window. Waited several minutes, then was told to move forward, that they would bring me the wraps. I waited several minutes, watching several cars behind me place their order, get it and leave. Finally, I backed up to the window and asked for my money back. I waited several more minutes. They refused to give me my money or my food. (I assure you, I never so much as raised my voice.) After waiting a total of 20 minutes with no food and no money, I had to leave.” Brilliant new way to boost profitability: take their money and don’t even provide food. Eventually, customer gets sick of idling their engine at the drive-thru like a weirdo and drives off, defeated and alone. Photo Credit: valeriebb


Don’t Flip Out

If you encounter a less than ideal fast food item, don’t freak out—remain calm and ask to speak with the manager. Or take a photo of the item in question and call a very good lawyer. This woman, however, decidedly took the wrong approach… As reported by the AP: “Police in Kansas City, Mo., are looking for a woman who went on a rampage at a McDonald's because she didn't like her hamburger. Police say the woman caused thousands of dollars in damage on Dec. 27 when she became upset that the restaurant wouldn't refund her money. Employees had offered to replace her hamburger, but the woman refused and demanded her money back.” Photo Credit: Getty Images


Mexican… Yum

From Cory: “My wife and I had a bad experience eating at a fast-food Mexican restaurant in Phoenix (approx. 2007).  One of the chicken burritos that we ordered had a leg band from the chicken - leftover from processing we assume.  We did not finish eating the meal once it was discovered and didn't order anything with chicken in it again from the restaurant.  We did continue to eat at the restaurant and others like it after the incident.” Strong nerves, Cory. One leg band is one too many in my book; why are you still eating there?! Photo Credit: Getty Images


Workers Have Complaints, Too

This complaint was posted by a former fast food employee: “My complaint is not to the restaurant but to the customers. The workers are making minimum wage to listen to you complain about things that the company does, which they have no control over (prices, product removal, etc). They are making minimum wage to clean up after the horrible messes that customers make. They are making minimum wage to work in a hot, sticky room making food that they can't even eat. During the summer at Taco Bell, where I worked, it would sometimes reach 110 degrees. We had no air conditioning, yet the dining room did. And we are not just making food or taking orders. We are also making sure that enough food is ready to be made, cleaning, stocking things that have run out during a rush and MUCH MUCH more, often while being incredibly understaffed. […] I have had ‘real’ jobs since my years at Taco Bell and can honestly say that Taco Bell was the most demanding, hardest and all around worst job I've ever had, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I learned to treat the workers as people and I learned that just because you only make minimum wage, it does not mean that your job is easy.” All right. So thank your lucky stars that you only have to spend five or ten minutes in one of these fast food places—some people, as in the workers, have to be there all day. Not to mention that 110 degrees sounds unsanitary: at such a high temperature bacteria can grow swiftly. Still, we admire this guy’s attitude and wish it was shared by more people in the industry. Photo Credit: Getty Images


What are your experiences?

Don’t go on a “rampage” the next time McDonald’s messes up your hamburger order. But do tell us, either here in the comments or on our Facebook page, if you have a gross “food” story to share. Photo Credit: Getty Images


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