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bugging out

Dining al fresco is one of the many perks we enjoy during the limited warm weather months in Buffalo. However, there seems to be an even greater insect epidemic this summer and with bee season on the way, its about to get worse. Keeping this in mind, is it a restaurant’s responsibility to warn patio patrons about the possibility of being harassed by blood thirsty, ravenous, pesky critters and if you do happen to encounter one of them in your entree or beverage, is it the restaurant’s responsibility to replace those items free of charge?

—Picky Eater

Aberrant in Allentown says: Maybe I’m made of more hearty stuff but if I found a bug in my food or drink I’d pick it out and keep eating or drinking. Then again, I spend enough time outdoors to know there are insects out there, without needing a warning before hand. You do realize there’s insect parts in almost every food product you consume already? (The FDA calls it “allowable filth”­—sounds delicious, right?) Guess what? It hasn’t harmed you yet. So, no, if you choose to eat outside, you waive your “right” to the illusion of bug-free fare. It’s a tough economy, don’t make your local restaurateur’s bottom line suffer for your phobias. If it bothers you that much, eat at home where you can pretend you aren’t consuming bug parts.

The Gay Perspective: While dining outdoors, a bug flying into your food is normal and to be expected. This is much like finding a chip of gristle in a sausage, or a pebble in your lentils, or a bone in your flounder. You are not entitled to any compensation for something like that, and it sounds rather opportunistic for you to be thinking about it.

Strictly Classified says: I spent the better part of my youth (and my adult life) working in restaurants and bars. As I look back fondly to those days spent slinging clams and beer down by the river, I recall patrons complaining about bees and flies from time to time. My thoughts (both then and now) can be summed up like this: You chose to dine outside, so you have to deal with bugs.

While dining al fresco, be prepared to swat and shoo bugs away, and ask your server to replace any food or drink that has been tainted by bugs. Odds are you will get a new Corona without any problems.

The Practical Cogitator says: When you choose to dine on the patio, you are entitled to fresh air, a breeze, hopefully some lovely landscaping, and a water element if you’re lucky. You are also at risk of strong winds, bright sun, perhaps a rain shower and other elements of the ecosystem which includes, but is not limited to, insects. If your wine is served to you with a fly in it, that’s one thing, you may politely ask to exchange the glass. If there is lipstick on your glass from poor dishwashing you may point it out and ask for another. But if you have sipped half way and a fly has been hanging around, and your shoo-ing reflexes were just not quick enough, no you are not entitled to a new glass of wine. You may take your spoon, rescue the poor guy and send it off—I’m sure the fly didn’t drink much.

Photographic Memory says: I suppose if my dish or glass arrived with a bug already in it, I would hope they would replace it. But, if I choose to eat outside in the summer, I kind of expect that there will be bugs trying to land on my food. Even when I eat on my own deck, there are flies and bees that are attracted to the food. So you just have to decide in advance if you are willing to put up with it or not. If not, then sit inside.

The Librarian says: Expanding on Aberrant in Allentown’s observation, the Food and Drug Administration allows 60 insect fragments per 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of chocolate, while the same amount of tomato sauce can contain 30 fly eggs. And while insects are not common fare in the US—as they are in other parts of the world—it’s estimated that the average American unintentionally eats one pound of bugs every year. Chew on that next time you’re eating on the patio, oh squeamish one.

The Moviegoer says: It is not the restaurant’s responsibility to replace your meal in this situation. It is their responsibility to replace it if the offending item is cooked into the item. So, when one is dining out and one notices a mouse in their mash, one should make sure to bite into the mouse. You’ll make a lot more money in the lawsuit. Sure, it’s gross, but it’s worth it in the long run.

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