Tag Archive: food

Check, Please!

(Submitted by reader Daniel Moyer)

In my youth I waited tables at a local diner. I worked the weekend early shifts, and referred to breakfast as the “meal of beverages.” There was always a huge variety of fluids (coffee, tea, milk, juice, water, etc…) at each table beyond the myriad assortment of breakfast foods. It happened one fateful day that I had two unrelated tables, both of them four tops.

As one could expect, each table had entirely different meals from the drinks down to the side orders. Eventually, table number one decided they were finished and ready to head out for their day, so digging through my pocketful of register checks, I handed them their bill, and they left, paying up at the register on their way out.

The second table remained active and decided they wanted additional food. When I went to add onto their check I realized to my dismay I had handed table number one the check for table number two, which was now closed out and paid for! I rushed up to the register to get the correct check to see how bad the situation was about to get for me. The hostess dug down through the cancelled checks to find the proper one and to our utter amazement, both bills were identical right down to the penny! Neither one of us could believe what we were seeing. With a great deal of relief and amazement, I explained the circumstance to table number two and showed them the proof, again, shock and awe.

I was able to add their additional food to table number one’s original check which they could now safely pay as easily as if the error had never occurred in the first place. The diner Gods were certainly smiling on me that day, and even though it’s hard to swallow, it’s the absolute truth and I enjoy recounting the story to this day. Is there any way to deduce these seriously crazy odds???

Below are the extended notes provided by Barbara Drescher for use in Skepticality Episode 205. Take a look and leave your comments below.

Without knowing the possible combinations, it is extremely difficult to determine the odds of this happening. It might very well be high, especially if a number of items on the menu have the same price. Most restaurant pricing is a whole dollar amount with zero, $.50, or $.99 tacked on, but nothing in between. Furthermore, a diner’s breakfast menu is not likely to have items which vary a great deal in price and the per person total probably falls within a tight range most of the time. So, while I am sure that it felt shocking to the author, my guess is that the odds are not all that crazy.

Distant Check-Ins

(Submitted by reader Brian U)

When I was a kid in high school in the San Fernando Valley, there was a restaurant that was open 24 hours that was a favorite hangout for kids out late. That was 35 years ago and I have since moved away — 3,000 miles away, actually.

Since the advent of social media I have since re-connected with a lot of my old high school buddies, and a couple of times a month one of them will “check-in” at the old place, and it will post to their status and I will see it.

So, it didn’t strike me as odd when I saw such a check-in from the same place one day, until I looked at it more closely and discovered it wasn’t one of my high-school friends, it was one of my neighbors.

It was the first time I ever saw a check-in from him, and it was at at the old haunt, 3000 miles away. Turns out he was on a business trip, got in late and saw the place open and stopped in for some food.

[EDITOR: Seeing worlds collide in social media is always odd, and more so when people you know connect with favorite haunts. But it’s the extenuating circumstances of situations like this that really grab you. Of course the least his neighbor could have done is bring back a burger, or something…]