Tag Archive: restaurant

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.

Battlestar Portlandia

(Submitted by friend of the site, Brian Hart)

At a restaurant in Los Angeles one recent Monday, I spotted Battlestar Galactica’s executive producer and writer, Ronald D. Moore, at a nearby table.

It should be noted that the highly acclaimed, re-imagined series went off the air back in 2009, and I saw Moore there in January 2012.

On Friday of the same week, I was watching the show Portlandia on the IFC channel, and one of the comedy pieces revolved around Battlestar Galactica.  Fair enough.

However, the main joke became that the couple watching the show became obsessed with it, and demanded that Ronald D. Moore write new episodes specifically for them.  Several original BSG members appeared on the show, doing a table read, along with Ronald D. Moore himself, playing a local Portland actor, “Kim Reynolds”.

Spin up the FTL drives, and make a Jump into coincidence, these odds are crazy!

So say we all!

[EDITOR: Brian seems to have a penchant for running into celebrities right around the time they’re mentioned in podcasts or featured out of place on television. Maybe it’s less coincidence and more that Brian relentlessly stalks them until they happen to line up to make a good story…?]

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…]


(Submitted by friend of the blog, Brian Hart)

I was listening to George Hrab’s Podcast (episode #240) on my iPod while heading out to one of my familiar lunch spots in Santa Monica, CA.  In this episode, George did a bit called “The History Chunk”, where he tells what happened on this particular date in history, usually in chronological order, and then makes some kind of joke about it. He mentions how in 1982, boxer Duk Koo Kim died after a bout with Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini.

Thirty seconds later I see Ray Mancini having lunch in the very restaurant I was walking into.  I clandestinely snap his picture.

Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini

You could have knocked me over with a boxing glove!

[EDITOR: You’re lucky Ray didn’t knock you over bareknuckled for taking clandestine photos of him while he’s trying to have a nice meal. Watch your back…]

Coincidence Curry

A girlfriend and I were planning to have lunch at an Indian curry restaurant one weekend day; she was going to pick me up about Noon, but was about a half hour late. We sat for about 15 or 20 minutes visiting and talking about her husband’s new play before we got into the car and drove the six blocks or so to a tiny, obscure Indian restaurant in the San Fernando Valley. We almost went to a more modern Thai restaurant instead, but decided to stick with our original choice of the Indian curry place.

We were seated and reviewing the menu when another friend of ours entered the little six-table establishment and we all recognized one another. He was with his friend who lived in the neighborhood. What was an unusual coincidence, besides the fact that we would have missed each other if my friend had been on time, was that we had just been discussing the theater my restaurant partner’s husband almost performed at (the stage wasn’t large enough), and our coincidental new dinner guest was the theater’s manager! Go figure the odds!