Applebee's Apple Walnut Chicken Salad, Now With Free Insect Leg

Here at the Consumerist we’re wary of stories where people “find something in their food.” That being said, we believe Stacie found an enormous insect leg in her Applebee’s salad…after biting into it.

It’s gross, but we could understand how it could happen. Not that it should happen, but Stacie did not find a lost Picasso painting or a severed finger in her salad. Insect legs are within the realm of possibility. We understand how that could happen. What we don’t understand is Applebee’s response to Stacie finding a huge insect leg in her Applebee’s salad…. offering her more salad. Read her story inside. (Warning, gross pictures.)

This is an email Stacie wrote to her friends and then sent to us:

On Mar 6, 2007, at 10:21 PM, Steve and Stacie wrote:

You all know me. I am, in general, not one to complain and pretty much have a positive outlook on life. Well, something so disgusting happened to yours truly today that I just can’t keep it to myself and wanted you all to be aware…

My friends and I have a habit, about once a week, of ordering Applebee’s To Go for salads when we are at work (in Warren, MI). Today that ended.

Famished after a conference call, I was happy to see my friend had dropped off my order of the full size apple walnut chicken salad. As I perused my emails, trying to catch up, I dove in (as I typically do). However, on about the third bite, I bit something hard.

“Hmmmm…chicken bone,” I thought. It was, as you know, a “chicken” salad. So I opened my mouth to pull out the bone and well…see for yourself. I about died–spitting my salad back into the bowl. My boss, who sits right behind me asked what was going on (because by this time I was ranting going, OH MY GOD!!!).

Well he freaked about as much as I did.

So, of course, being the trouper that I am, I gathered myself, as much as I could after having some sort of HUGE insect leg in my mouth, and called the restaurant, asking to speak directly to the manager.

I told Ann what I had found. She was a little quiet and then said, “Well, would you like to come over and pick up another salad?”

I about came out of my chair. “Are you kidding?” I asked. “I’m not sure that I ever want to come into your restaurant again.”

Now, truthfully, after that, I can’t remember a whole lot of the conversation–yes I was pleasant, even offering to bring in the “leg” so they could see it–uncomfortably laughing in horror and disbelief of both the “finding” and the “response.” But the conclusion to all of this is that my name is now in the “Red Book” so I can come in and get my free salad whenever I want–and no, she didn’t want to see the leg!!

So, you know me, not being satisfied I called the corporate Customer Assistance number and told them my story. The person who answered my call was empathetic, but the answer he gave was upsetting as well– he did take my name, address and phone number and told me that he would immediately contact the District Manager for the Store (WARREN–12MI & Vandyke, btw). However, he couldn’t say for certain that I would hear from the district manager. And at the time of this note–about 12 hours later–I’ve gotten nothing.

Final call today was to the Macomb County Health Department. When I told my story, the person taking the information seemed not to be phased what-so-ever. She even went so far to ask if I’d like to leave my name and address so they could send me a letter to let me know what they had found. Lets see, I had a two inch insect leg in my mouth– DUH!!! Of COURSE I would like to see the resolution.

What a crazy day. I guess the moral to all of this, besides AVOID APPLEBEE’S, is pay attention to your food while you are eating it when you do not make it. Yes the leg would have been there…but I wouldn’t have been nearly as traumatized if I’d found it before it entered my mouth.

And yes…I still have the leg.

Take care (and say a little prayer for me and my sanitized mouth!!),

Question for the readers: Is free salad the correct response to huge insect leg in a salad? Stacie seems really nice and never mentions wanting to sue Applebee’s… and the district manager didn’t even call her to apologize. Were they even surprised? IS there a proper response to something like this?

Any insect experts want to tell us what the heck used to own that leg? Is it, you know, native to Michigan?—MEGHANN MARCO




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