Should Restaurant Refund Me For Edamame Appetizer With Free Giant Worm?

Some time ago, on an unknown farm, a worm crawled inside a soybean pod to eat the delicious bean within. The pod was harvested with the worm inside, cooked, and served to reader Sarah as an edamame appetizer at a local Japanese restaurant. Sarah was disgusted and wants a refund of the $3 or so she paid for the appetizer. The restaurant’s manager claims that business is slow and they can’t afford to give her a refund.

Over the last couple of years, my husband and I have eaten a few times at a local teppenyaki place called [redacted]. We had a particularly great experience there over Christmas, and decided that we’d try to eat there more often because they were so nice. This Monday night, I went by [redacted] and bought an appetizer, a sushi roll and edamame as a take-out order. I finished everything that night except for half the edamame, which I put in the fridge to save for lunch.

On Tuesday, I found a huge, red, boiled worm in one of the edamame pods. It was still attached to the soybean it had been eating.

I took several pictures of the worm. At his insistence, my husband called the restaurant, asking for a refund for my meal. The manager refused to refund us because, according to him, business had been slow and they couldn’t afford it. My husband asked if they could just refund us for the edamame (which would be less than $3). Again, the manager said know, adding that we could have a free sushi roll on our next visit. But after nearly ingesting a worm in their cooked food, I don’t want to go back and eat their raw food.

One of my friends has suggested that this may not be about the restaurant’s cleanliness; anyone could, for example, accidentally bring home a piece of fruit with a worm in it. But I still think that presence of the worm meant that they don’t inspect their food very well (the worm-holding soybean pod is yellow and mushy on one end), or that they buy sub-par food.

What do you think? Is it common to find worms in food like this? What about the restaurant manager’s stance on refusing to give a refund due to slowed business? I think they should be trying to keep the customers they have, especially if it costs them a few dollars. Apparently they disagree.

The problem here is that Sarah found the worm after leaving the restaurant, as she was eating leftovers at home: that may have put the manager on the defensive, thinking she was trying to scam a free meal.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.