“I showed up at a restaurant and ordered breakfast. Then I saw a couple leaving, and the maître d’ chased them down the street to ask them not to leave just yet. This happened a few times until there was a small group of people milling around outside, giving each other ‘what the heck’ looks. Eventually, I overheard the maître d’ explaining, ‘I’m really sorry, there’s been a small problem in the kitchen. The chef is on the phone with the poisons and information hotline, so we’ll be able to tell you more in a second.’ In the meantime, a waitress told us they wouldn’t be able to serve us, so we should go. Curious, we joined the throng of people now standing around outside.
Eventually the maître d’ addressed us as a group and said, ‘I’m sorry to keep you all waiting here, but we just wanted to be sure about what has happened. The chef had set a large pot of water with caustic soda on the stove to boil, in order to clean it. Unfortunately, our apprentice used that pot to poach your eggs. We have just checked with the poisons and information hotline, who told us that you will all probably be ok because you would have started to show symptoms already had you been given a toxic dose. However, we need to inform you that should you display any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately: vomiting, diarrhea, loss of hearing, loss of sight, bleeding from the eyes, ears, mouth, or rectum, or any lesions appearing on your skin. Thank you all very much, and I’m sorry for the inconvenience.’ They closed down a month or so later.”