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Old 09-18-2009, 04:57 PM   #1
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Oh chickies. I need to talk to someone who would understand.

My husband and I went to lunch today at a sushi place near his office that he goes to very often. I don't like sushi, but there's other things on the menu that I like. So I wanted something on the child's menu, but the waitress said no, I'm not a child and I can't order that. I was surprised and quickly found something else to order--approximately the same thing, only a LOT more food. Food came, and I was still obsessed with the idea that I couldn't order the food I wanted.

I've been working on the idea that I can have whatever food I want, and not judge myself (good or bad) in the process. So I ate the amount I wanted, and left the rest. I ended up with half the lunch left over, and that really bothered me. I was doing this mental thing of "if they had let me order what I wanted in the first place, I wouldn't have so much left over!!" And this is where it gets bad.

The waitress brought over the bill, and I started this whole thing about how much food I had left and how they could charge me the adult price, I just wanted the AMOUNT of food on the kid's plate, and look at this food I didn't even touch and I didn't WANT and blah blah blah...meanwhile my husband is sitting there dying, the waitress is trying really hard to be accomodating, and I'm getting more and more frustrated with not getting what I wanted in the first place.

We paid the bill, the manager said next time just ask her and she'd give it to me since we're in there all the time, and went out onto the street. I apologized to my husband and he said, "yeah, your neuroses don't normally show so badly. I think you're getting worse." He went on to explain that in the past yes I had troubles, but I didn't make them other people's troubles, and he was uncomfortable and the waitress was uncomfortable and if it was all that much of an issue I needed to just remove myself from the situation or just NOT EAT IT.

Thanks. If I could "just not eat it", do you think I'd be here in the first place?

I told him I was surprised that it had hit a trigger, I didn't know it was there, and it wouldn't happen again. The more I think about it and the more I relive it the more mortified I am, and I'm not coping well. I cried all the way home and I don't know what to do now. I'm just mortified that I was that out of control and that out of line. And here I thought I was doing better!

Any advice, chickies? I'm really feeling horrible right now.
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Old 09-18-2009, 05:07 PM   #2
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I'll just go for the easy one - that restaurant doesn't deserve you should ever go back. "The customer is always right." ????? You should be allowed to order whatever you want. I think ordering an adult meal and offering to pay for only half of it is not on - but they should have let you order the small meal. Don't go back.
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Old 09-18-2009, 05:09 PM   #3
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Hugs for the mind part, no advice on that.

As to the portion issue, in some restaurants I either ask for an extra plate or a to-go box to be brought out with my meal so I can reapportion before I begin eating. I do low low carb, and there have also been times when I've asked them to just put the starch etc. in a to-go box and not even bring it to the table, then I would take it straight home to give away to carb-loving neighbors.
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Old 09-18-2009, 05:13 PM   #4
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I am CONSTANTLY irritated that you have to be 12 and under or 10 and under to order off the kids' menu. The portions on the kids' menu are most often too much food for what we should be eating. And I don't always want to take home my food. Fish is no good as a leftover, IMO.

I know it embarrassed your husband, but keep talking to restaurants about it. Maybe if enough of us start talking about it, they'll start HEARING it.
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Old 09-18-2009, 05:19 PM   #5
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Oh honey, I'm so sorry. Don't cry.

First, let me say that you did a great job at not eating all the extra food. A lot of restaurants have policies like that, you could always just ask order the full sized portion and ask them to wrap up half when they bring the order, or ask for a box to be brought with the meal and package half up right away? It annoys me, too. Starbucks recently changed their policy here to where you have to be under 12 to order the short size and I almost blew a fuse when I found that out last week. If I ordered a tall hot chocolate I would drink a tall hot chocolate, I needed the short!

Now, I'll say I've been there, gotten wrapped around the axle about just that kind of thing. What was the trigger for you? The food itself or the fact that you had an expectation of one thing in your head and then got focused tightly in on that and the frustration of not being able to do something that seemed so simple? That is what happens to me - I narrow in on some small something and can't see the big picture. I then feel totally out of control and have to hammer my point home to whomever I'm dealing with. This happened just this weekend with popcorn - DH seasoned it when my back was turned and I asked what he put on it. He said "what I always do" and I proceeded to poke at it trying to get him to drill down to exactly what, how many shakes of what, etc. It bound me down so tightly I couldn't add anything else because he couldn't tell me if he had used one shake or two of ballpark salt. And, I kept asking and asking and making passive aggressive snips about it until he was frustrated, too. I could hear the crazy but couldn't make myself stop. I just pushed and pushed and pushed until we were both crazy. Much like I pushed the barista at Starbucks until I finally had to leave before it got out of hand.

When I find myself going to place like that it is always because I feel out of control. I have to consciously stop talking, take a few deep breaths and try to figure out what I feel like I have no control of. Then I try to decide if it is something important enough to worry about. If it isn't, I try really hard to let it drop. If I'm in a restaurant or with a group I often stop and drink a sip of my water, or pause and go to the bathroom for a minute. It gives me a little break - hits the 'stop' key for a minute and lets me refresh.

Don't feel horrible. A big part of this process is learning how to take control of our own situation and not let outside factors run the show. You are a work in progress. You have made such great progress in your loss, and you are always so positive and supportive in your posts. This experience should show you how far you have come, actually - you didn't eat the food!

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Old 09-18-2009, 05:29 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Shannon in ATL View Post
Starbucks recently changed their policy here to where you have to be under 12 to order the short size and I almost blew a fuse when I found that out last week.
That is absolutely outrageous! 'You have to be no taller than this to drink our hot chocolate'?????
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Old 09-18-2009, 05:31 PM   #7
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DCHound--thing is, I didn't want the food in the first place. When she came over at the end of the meal the first thing she said was, "wow, do you want a box?" It's not stuff that would have saved well, so I said no, thank you. I just didn't want that much food in the first place! I don't know why this is bothering me so much, I just...it's obviously a trigger.

Eumie--totally!! The kid's plate was more than enough food. I TOLD them they could charge me for the adult plate I just wanted the smaller amount. What is this, you have to spend a certain amount of money for your food depending on how long you've been alive? Then why are 55+ menus cheaper? Why do I have to get more food than I want just because of my age??

Shannon--I think the issue was that she told me I couldn't have what I wanted. I had (in my mind) made such a moderate, reasonable choice, that was going to be enough food, that would be pleasing to me, that would give me control over my habits...it was a good choice for me and I was proud of it, and then she said I couldn't have it! Forget ordering off the child's menu as an adult, I ACTED like a child too!

I know what you mean about "I could hear the crazy". Definitely! I just couldn't seem to stop the crazy. Oi.

I kept trying to do the drill in my head all through the meal, tell myself "you can have whatever you want, no judgment". It very interesting to me that the "no judgment" thing swings both ways and encompasses how much I'm not eating as much as how much I am eating. It DID help, and I WAS impressed that I didn't eat [much] more than I had intended to eat. And ever more impressive is that the last thing I want to do right now is comfort eat. In fact, I'd rather not ever eat again if I can help it!

(Yes, I know that's unhealthy thinking too. THIS is why I'm in therapy.)
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Old 09-18-2009, 06:31 PM   #8
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That is totally annoying!! I would have told her to have the manager come over right then and there. I would have explained exactly what you said, that you would pay the adult price, but that for "health reasons" you only wanted the child's portion. No need to specify the health reasons!

I just want to add... that perhaps what triggered you so much was a matter of what's called the "locus of control." Instead of you being in the place of control, the restaurant was, when they refused your request. For a lot of people, this kind of conflict does, really, send them right back to a childhood situation. So, take it easy on yourself! Yeah, maybe you could have acted a different way--but that doesn't let the restaurant off the hook.

Do you have a therapist or other counselor you could talk to? Maybe some of those issues need some resolution.

I think you did GREAT not to eat all the food! I might have eaten it all in anger and then have been even MORE unhappy!

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Old 09-18-2009, 07:20 PM   #9
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Those of us trying to eat healthy foods in healthy proportions live in a hostile world, right now. Personally, I think all of us deserve forgiveness if we're occasionally hostile back. And, really, you got good results. Next time, you'll be able to order off the children's menu and maybe they will take a serious look at that policy.

We should start a movement. Yeah. Sit-ins. We won't leave until we're served appropriately sized meals! And, if that's the children's menu, then that's what we demand! :-) (apparently I'm in a revolutionary mood tonight)

Good for you for not eating more than you wanted.
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Old 09-18-2009, 07:51 PM   #10
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It really gets to me that some places won't let you order the kids meal unless you have a child with you. Can we just say "yeah, I have a kid in the car and it's for them" or "the kid went to the bathroom and will be coming back soon, I'm just ordering this for him"


Shannon, OMG about the Starbucks not letting adults order a short... that's not fair! I thought they were trying to offer costumers more health conscious options, it makes no sense.
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Old 09-18-2009, 08:35 PM   #11
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The waitress actually told me, "most people want big portions." I said, "look how much I left!". I've been thinking about it, and I think there was also an element of "look how much I'm not eating" involved here.

This eating without judging thing is hard. :sigh: I wanted to be seen to be content with the childs portion, I guess.

And now I totally want to go to Starbucks, where I NEVER go (I hate coffee anything) and order a short something just on principle.
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Old 09-18-2009, 08:51 PM   #12
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He went on to explain that in the past yes I had troubles, but I didn't make them other people's troubles, and he was uncomfortable and the waitress was uncomfortable
See, I just disagree. This was not you making your problem into someone else's problem. It was you making them address *their* problem. That was ridiculous. Next time tell them someone is meeting you with a child, and you're not eating . Oh look, they didn't show up and, gee, I think I'll eat after all. Wouldn't want it to go to waste. The waitress *should* have been uncomfortable. If it's somewhere you like to go, you might try writing corporate (if it's a chain), see what policy really is. Sounds unusual to me.
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Old 09-18-2009, 09:19 PM   #13
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Hang in there. I'm used to confrontations with waitstaff since I am a vegetarian. I often ask for a customized item/portion.

I almost always ask if I can get a "half order" of something. If they say no, I will usually try to order something that I can get a carryout box for. That being said - in restaurants that I frequent, I EXPECT to be catered to. I EXPECT to be able to customize my order.

The places that treat me well, get repeat business. Those that don't, won't.

We have our absolutely favorite coffee house staff trained so well that they make special appetizers just for us during the wine tasting events. They will make vegetarian options for us. They will also customize any entree for us.

We also tip accordingly. For outstanding service, we feel it should be rewarded.

I hope you put this in perspective - and celebrate that you left all of that food. Kudos to you! We are proud of you!
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Old 09-18-2009, 10:03 PM   #14
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In my opinion, the manager acted appropriately, your waitress did not (it may have been an honest mistake, but I'm guessing she knows better now). I wouldn't worry about your actions too much, but in the future in a similar situation stay calm and ask to speak to the manager (or "whoever can authorize custom orders," to state your case. My guess is that you will be accomodated more often than not. My husband and I have been.

My husband and I often order custom orders (even for things that aren't even on the menu at all). We're usually accomodated, quite easily. The manager of one restaurant actually sent the cook out to talk to us to make sure he understood what we wanted and could do it.

Sometimes waitstaff will tell us a custom-order "can't" be done, yet when we speak to the manager or owner, it suddenly becomes doable. Usally it boils down to the waitstaff not knowing any better (I really think some of them are thinking, "No ones ever asked this before, so the answer must be no.")

That being said, when we do have problems, it's usually a large chain, probably because finding someone "authorized" to make exceptions can be difficult, but that's not always the case either. We eat at Applebee's occasionally, because (unfortunately) it's one of the few places in town that serves a decent french onion soup. I love onion soup - but I don't want the crusty bread and cheese topping (sometimes I order a little bit of cheese). I save several hundred calories by ordering the soup unadorned, but it has flummoxed some waitstaff. I've had to explain it a couple times that yes, it definitely "can" be done, because I've done it quite frequently on previous visits.

I do understand that senior and child discounts are often seen as "special-exemptions," and so some restaurants are reluctant to give a discount to someone who doesn't "qualify," but generally I've never had a problem in privately owned or even small chains when I've spoken to someone actually "in-charge."
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Old 09-18-2009, 10:27 PM   #15
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I guess I am mystified at why an adult can't order a child's meal. If her husband had come in with a child instead of with Sidhe, they would have sold the SAME amount of food that Sidhe ate for the child's price. Same thing with the inability to order a short hot chocolate. That's simply ridiculous that now retailers are trying to FORCE us to eat/drink huge portions by preventing us from buying the smaller ones! Lucky for Sidhe, she is strong and was able to simply not eat what was on her plate but I would be PISSED if I was forced to buy a huge portion of something that won't reheat well (like fish).

I would have a heart-to-heart with management about their policy and if they refused to make exceptions, I'd have to think twice about going back.
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