How Much is Rat Trauma Worth?

A customer dining with friends at a restaurant in Folsom, California reportedly saw a rat while dining and received a “Seen Rat” discount on the bill.  The incident, which ended up on FaceBook and then the local news media, criticized the restaurant management not for poor grammar, but for poor judgment for not offering the guests their meals on the house.

But should the restaurant have given the table of patrons free food? After all, they stayed and finished their meals–how traumatized were they?  (As a side note, an inspector with the Sacramento County Environmental Management Department, was called and checked to see if the place was infested. She said she found no evidence of rats living or dead.)

Have we become a nation of fragile souls with unrealistic expectations of a perfect world and perfect experiences in which we should be compensated and receive “free” services and goods when those expectations go unmet?  Researchers have demonstrated that rats are very intelligent animals with superb memories.  Once rats learn a route they never forget it, and some rats have even been trained to drag wires through specific pathways inside walls making them the perfect electrician’s assistants.  Rather than receive a discount, maybe the patrons should have received an additional charge for having an encounter with a being that does not need smartphones or GPS to survive.


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