Of Scam Artists and Birthday Pancakes


All I wanted were some pancakes from Bob Evans.

Well… not necessarily from Bob Evans. I just wanted pancakes. My options were limited as to where I could obtain said pancakes.

And why did I want pancakes so badly? Because we were celebrating my birthday while visiting my in-laws. Who doesn’t want pancakes when their celebrating their birthday? It’s like an unalienable right. It’s a well known fact that Patrick Henry was misquoted. He actually said, “Give me birthday pancakes or give me death!”, but it was altered to provide additional propaganda for the Revolutionary War.

But on this fateful day, those pancakes would come at a hefty price.

We had a rather large party and upon getting seated in the restaurant, the hostess decided to place all 8 of us in a comically narrow corridor. Imagine 8 people sliding past tables of other patrons in cramped quarters. Needless to say, it was a sight.

But apparently it wasn’t a comical sight to this lady who was seated in the table beside us. I overheard her complain about anything and everything to her server, including the “obnoxious” group of people sitting behind her.

In other words, us.

I just so happened to be the closest person to her at our table. I could hear every word she was saying (mostly because we were literally three feet away from her). But I wasn’t the only person at our table to hear her, everyone in the narrow corridor could, too. She wasn’t making any attempt to keep her voice down and she made sure to announce to everyone within ear shot that the table behind her was being extremely obnoxious.

Now, I’ve frequented many restaurants with my wife’s family before. At times, yes, they’ve been relatively obnoxious. Mostly when it comes to my mother in law trying her best to suck down every last available drop of her choice of beverage… one time with disastrous results when she ordered a margarita as large as her head.

But this particular time, my wife’s family was actually well-behaved, just not well-behaved enough for this lady.

So as she continued to declare how obnoxious we were (between 6 and 8 times) to anyone who would listen, I realized very quickly that I had just about all I could stand.

Against anyone’s better judgment, I decided to tell this unpleasant lady that if she was going to say unflattering things about someone else (and not do so to their face), she should probably keep her voice down when the targets of her ire are well within earshot of her unpleasantries.

The first mistake I made was getting up and trying to tell her in a low tone so as not to attract more attention to the situation (and her nastiness). The second mistake I made was bending down to tell her in a low tone so she, and only she, could distinctly hear every word I had to say.

Not that what I had to say mattered. I believe I audibly got 5 words out of my mouth before this lady freaked the f**k out, jumped up and started yelling about how I had assaulted her.

So much for not making a scene.

She threatened to call the police because I had just committed assault. To her credit, I might have committed assault if tapping a table with a single finger constituted the act, but in the real world where people aren’t f**king crazy or off their medication, it’s almost always not assault.

She held true to her threat and called the police, and if you were wondering how many police officers are necessary for a Sunday morning disturbance at a Bob Evans restaurant, the correct answer is approximately 10 police officers.

But then again, restaurant table assaults are a real problem in the northeast corner of Indiana. It’s a tragedy that affects a lot of people’s lives. ALL THOSE POOR CHILDREN.

In the time between when the altercation happened and when the police showed up, we had moved tables to another side of the restaurant and found out from the wait staff that this lady has a history of (a) complaining about anything/everything and (b) outbursts involving other patrons (including threatening to burn another patron’s face with a lit cigarette). It became pretty clear that she was a scam artist who found a restaurant who would accommodate her schemes to eat for free.

Luckily, I wasn’t arrested for assaulting a table. I reluctantly apologized to the table for tenderly tapping it with my finger and I think it accepted my apology… at least the officers believed it did, as they only gave me a warning.

Do I regret what I did? Absolutely not. I don’t shy away from confrontation and I hope that my decision to confront that lady for her ugly behavior will give her pause before she says rude things about other people within earshot. But in all honestly, considering I’m pretty sure she’s a scam artist, I’m fairly sure its all a part of her calculated plan to get a free meal.

There’s a lesson in all of this; Birthday pancakes are delicious.

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