Diner Charges Customers Extra For Asking A 'Stupid Question'

Caitlyn Clancey
Hunter Landry via TODAY

If you've ever worked in the food service industry, you know that answering stupid questions is pretty much just another part of the job.

Whether they know their questions are stupid or not, customers have a habit of tossing some... unnecessary queries at their waiters, and all you can do is smile politely and answer them as patiently as you can.

One Colorado diner is making its patrons pay for their stupid questions — literally. And it's turned this modest food joint into a local favorite.

Tom's Diner in Denver will charge customers an extra 38 cents if they ask their waiter a stupid question.

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According to TODAY, the 24-hour eatery has been in business for about 20 years and has remained a hot spot for locals who appreciate the joint's tongue-in-cheek humor.

General Manger Hunter Landry explained the charge is by no means malicious: "It's meant to be playful. It's good to keep things light in today's world."

Although Tom's had previously remained a little Denver secret, it was recently brought to the world's attention, thanks to a viral post.

Reddit | humblemangoes

In early January, a Reddit user posted a photo of the receipt for their meal of chicken tenders ($9) and mashed potatoes ($2.99), along with the cheeky 38-cent charge for "1 Stupid Question."

What's perhaps most surprising is that people in the comments didn't seem outraged at the extra charge.


In fact, most of them immediately found the humor in the tab and appeared to support the cheeky shaming technique.

“If I got paid to listen to people’s stupid questions I’d probably be a billionaire,” one person commented.

Another quipped, "What's an example of a stupid question?"

In no time at all, the photo of the receipt, which was posted to the subreddit "me_irl," gained thousands of upvotes.


After the post went viral, everyone online wanted to know this one thing: is this charge legit? And Landry is happy to report that yes, it definitely is. But it's also all in good fun.

The charge was first introduced back in 1999 when the original owner, Tom Messina, first opened the joint.

Hunter Landry via TODAY

You can even see the charge listed right there on the menu under "sides", sandwiched between extra dressing and the veggie of the day. It was originally 48 cents, but the diner has since dropped the price a bit.

After all, they aren't trying to rob their most ridiculous customers.

Landry, who is Messina's nephew, said staff are actually instructed not to charge customers who genuinely ask questions that the waiters believe are stupid.

Google | Tom's Diner

Instead, the humorous levy is reserved for the more animated tables.

"When we have a good fun table that engages with us or when they ask about the charge, it's always fun to add it on," Landry said.

Some of the diner's more colorful patrons love to get in on the fun and do their absolute best to come up with the dumbest questions possible.

Giphy | Saturday Night Live

These include demanding to know if there are any "dues" for the turkey club sandwich, or asking their waiters, "Does the ice have any water in it?", which is a personal favorite of Landry's.

"The majority of people really get where we're coming from and understand it's meant to be playful," he explained. "Over the years, maybe a few people have been perturbed but the response is generally positive."

One Reddit user who previously worked as a line cook at the eatery shared that customers were usually disappointed if they *didn't* get charged extra.


"So," this user wrote, "they'd ask and a server would add it. The ultimate stupid question? 'Why didn't you charge me more money?'"

Tom's Diner is always happy to serve up some laughs, from its cheeky menu items to its restaurant decor.

Instagram | @jonnieb_long

Under "Healthy Options", the joint has listed such items as "Skip Your Next Meal,' or "Walk Home," both which are sure to lighten up your eating experience, as well as save you some cash.

Landry said they're actually considering adding even more items, like "Don't Take Yourself So Seriously" and "Love Each Other."

While you enjoy your meal, you can also take in such humorous wall postings as a sign that reads, "Practice Safe Eating... Please Use Your Condiments."

Hunter Landry via TODAY

As for what the future holds for this local favorite, Landry said he and his uncle are both eager to keep growing and re-branding Tom's Diner to keep the customers coming.

"It's all about not taking yourself too seriously," Landry explained. "We're not here for a long time, so let's enjoy ourselves and try to make the most of this life."

h/t: TODAY

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