Finding a strand of someone else's hair embedded in your entree is disgusting. It might make you dry heave a little—or decide that you don't need another bite—but TBH, it's not going to hurt you, make you sick, or otherwise wreck your life.
It's such a benign (if unwanted) bit of garnish that you can't file a lawsuit if you find a hair in your food, and the FDA doesn't even put a limit on the number of strands that are acceptable. (Even if most of us are shaking our fists and yelling "ZERO! ZERO STRANDS ARE ACCEPTABLE!" right now).
But all of that doesn't stop unscrupulous diners from planting—and plating—their own hair in their dinner, in an attempt to score free meals.
One woman recently tried this scam at Casa Nostra Ristorante, an Italian restaurant in Brisbane, Australia, but she was so busy hiding her hair in her pasta that she didn't notice the security camera over her shoulder. The as-yet-unidentified woman is seen on CCTV pulling her own hair out, putting it on her plate, and then stirring the dish around. The woman then called for a waiter and, because it was so obviously her hair, the restaurant refused to remove the entree from her bill. She retaliated by posting a one-star review on TripAdvisor—and Casa Nostra responded by shaming her on Instagram, posting (and narrating) the footage of the woman planting the hair.
Cosa Nostra's owner, Sarah Biuso, is a 20-year veteran of the restaurant industry, and she clearly has no patience for this kind of customer. Biuso said that the woman and her friend (who she originally claimed was the Duchess of the Netherlands) wanted to make some menu substitutions, which would've been fine if they hadn't insisted that they should be able to combine an appetizer and an entree—while paying only for the entree. The waiter told the woman that wouldn't be possible, and that's apparently why she decided to yank her own hair out.
"She didn't get what she wanted so she tried not to pay for it," Biuso told News.com.au. "As soon as the waiter cleared the plate, it was obviously the woman's hair. We all have short dark trimmed hair, and this was a strand of dirty blonde curly hair."
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When the waitstaff basically said, "Nope, sorry, we're not falling for it," the woman threatened to "destroy" the restaurant. She and her friend left scathing one-star reviews on TripAdvisor, which have since been removed from the site.
"It was just a really disappointing incident," Biuso said. "We were 101 percent sure of what she'd done, and had proof she did it herself."
As dumb as it is, this woman isn't the first to try it. In 2015, Louise Smith was also caught on camera at a pub in Rockcliffe, England, called the Crown and Thistle after pulling a piece of a young girl's hair out and putting it on her plate. The pub offered her a partial refund, but she insisted that she wasn't paying a dime for anything. The pub called the cops and Smith was tried for fraud (and, true to form, she skipped out on her court date).
READ MORE: This Chef Who Makes Bread from Hair Has a Few Things to Say
But the most infamous food fraudster might be George Jolicoeur. For almost a decade, the Florida man ran a series of scams at fast food restaurants that involved him scarfing huge meals, then immediately complaining that he'd found hair in the food. He was arrested in 2005 after trying to cheat a Steak n' Shake out of $31 worth of milkshakes that he'd already consumed. (Jolicoeur, who weighed an estimated 600 pounds, was arrested again in 2007 for a beef jerky-related lie, and attorneys on both sides agreed that he was too fat for jail. Read that entire sentence again).
So anyway, don't try to pull this off. It's not worth the hassle, you're probably not going to get a free dinner, and you might find yourself being mercilessly ridiculed on social media.