Olive Garden is a paradise to many Americans. This isn't news. Some patrons take particular delight in the fact that the chain restaurant offers a bottomless supply of breadsticks as a prelude to your meal. You can have as many breadsticks as you like; they’re endless, per a policy that the chain has once argued is a gesture of "Italian generosity."
This is a perk that’s ripe for abuse, a reality I’ve never quite considered until I read this Reddit thread that asked beleaguered Olive Garden employees to relive the traumas of having to cater to the dumb, demanding whims of customers who wanted to eat as many breadsticks as possible.
“Olive Garden employees who have had to cut somebody off from unlimited breadsticks and salad, what happened?” semi-terrestrial asked Reddit late last week. The question has generated 6,958 comments as of Monday afternoon. The thread is congested with stories that reveal the awkward indignities of being a waiter forced into the most compromising position imaginable: How do you politely ask someone to contain the magnitude of their appetite for breadsticks?
Take the alleged tale of three women in their mid-30s who, according to Reddit user WisePelican, kept stuffing their purses full of breadsticks. “[I] kept bringing baskets of bread, had to be 7 or 8,” WisePelican wrote. “At this point we’re at about 30 breadsticks and the food hasn’t even hit the table yet. I start watching and they are putting the bread in their purses. Just filling ‘em up. Manager asked them politely to stop, that was that. They weren’t thrilled.”
Well, well, well... look what we’ve got here. A cabal of breadstick bandits, that’s what!
There are other, equally harrowing stories of breadstick thievery buried in the thread. “I saw her stealing the bread sticks, putting them in her big purse when i wasn't near, and kept asking for more," reads one. "Can't blame her. They're delicious.” Wow.
And another: “Still, the only time you could cut somebody off those refills was when they hoarded them in hidden boxes,” pitrogg remembered. “And that happened a lot. I had a guy who was ordering breadsticks refills every 4 minutes, and putting them in his backpack (he said its [sic] for his hiking trip).”
Good grief! That’s a lot of people pilfering breadsticks.
Scroll down the thread and you'll notice it devolves into a thread alleging analogous incidents at other chain restaurants beyond Olive Garden. Consider the plight of one user who was allegedly deprived of endless flapjacks at Denny's after consuming just ten, or the wild tale of another person's “skinny-as-fuck uncle” who allegedly made his way through 100 pieces of all-you-can-eat shrimp at Sizzler before being instructed to slow his roll by a waiter.
I’ve got to admit, though, the highlight of the thread may be Reddit user notthe_crazyone's alleged memory of one customer whose “bitch ass decided to complain long enough about the zuppa to get her whole meal comped.” This customer allegedly would go on to “'choke down' a bowl of gnocci and then try to eat more zuppa. She then had the audacity to ask me to TAKE A BOWL HOME. Big ole nope. Was tipped with a Jesus pamphlet.”
I’m not sure we can extrapolate much of a “point” from the responses in this thread, let alone any semblance of a pattern that binds these horrific allegations together. Olive Garden did not respond to request for comment from MUNCHIES on Monday regarding the responses to this thread, though the company did tell The Daily Meal late last week that it loves “seeing our guests' passion for our unlimited menu items" while clarifying that it does not impose any limit on the number of refills a guest can get.
If there is a universal truth that this thread illuminates, I guess it’s this: Waiting tables is demoralizing enough as it is. No one deserves a Jesus pamphlet in lieu of an actual tip.