Florida seems to be the epicenter of bizarre, twisted, and unnatural activity. The nation’s most insane news stories usually begin on a Florida mugshot website and wander through the Internet before going viral, reminding you why you don’t visit your grandparents as much as you should. Florida is in many ways like a warped, funhouse-mirror reflection of the rest of America—had we all taken bath salts before entering aforementioned funhouse.
This outlandish behavior extends to all parts of Florida life, including fine and not-so-fine dining. From prostitution busts at Taco Bell to half-naked patrons at McDonald’s, here are 10 very compelling, very real reasons why might want to think twice before eating in Florida.
1. You Might Have to Give Up BBQ.
Earlier this summer Florida grill master Christ Matt was exercising his American right to BBQ when his neighbor decided to call in an environmental inspector to convince Matt that it was illegal for smoke to leave his property. Immediately stepping in to point out the ridiculousness of the inspector’s claims, Matt’s friend responds, “We can’t control the wind, God does that.” The video above, shot by Matt’s friend, chronicles the grill master’s struggle to survive in the harsh Floridian suburbs. Needless to say, if you’re trying to enjoy basic American pleasures, avoid Florida.
2. You Could Get Shot in the Face.
While Hooters tends to be a hotbed of both pubescent and prepubescent males, a Hooters in Orlando seems to be packing a bit more heat. According to WESH, a 16-year-old boy was shot in the face in a Hooters parking lot earlier this year. Witnesses to the crime told the Orlando Sentinel that “at least two people were shooting.” While the circumstances are vague, getting shot in the face is definitely a compelling reason to not eat in Florida. (Photo: Wikipedia)
3. Prostitution Busts
In a Yelp review of a Fort Lauderdale Taco Bell, user Dave M. stated, “For anyone visiting Fort Lauderdale, I would highly recommend that they make sure to experience Taco Bell not only for the nourishment but also for an experience they won’t soon forget.” Swerve. Dave M. may just seem like a normal guy concerned with the disparities of nutrients and fresh ingredients between various chain restaurant locations. This, however, is a fallacy. Dave M. was most likely referring to a prostitution ring that was recently busted at said Fort Lauderdale Taco Bell. Fort Lauderdale cops disguised as prostitutes were approached by two men interested in some action, and well, they got a little more than what they wanted. If you aren’t hoping to engage in acts more sensual than biting into a crisp Doritos Locos Taco, Florida might not be your place. (Photo: Wikipedia/Kay Chernush)
4. Their Waters Are Filled with Giant Sea Monsters.
If Taco Bell and Hooters had you scared, taking dinner into your own hands might not be the best option, either. Fisherman Steve Bergeron caught what definitely looks like a sea monster off the coast of Fort Pierce, Florida. Photos of the beast made their way to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, where scientists think (keyword) the animal is Lysiosquilla scabricauda, or Scaly-tailed Mantis Shrimp. Until scientists come to an exact conclusion, it might be wise to stay clear of anything lurking in Florida waters. (Photo: Facebook)
5. You Could Get Hit By A Car Before You Place Your Order.
Sometimes the thirst for fast food can lead to a misdemeanor. While the Taco Bell in Coral Springs has an active, ready-to-use drive-thru, one woman took matters into her own hands and cut out the middleman by plowing through a Taco Bell. According to NBC Miami, Nicole Peterson decided to stop by the chain after having a few beers at a nearby establishment. Peterson and her car went through the restaurant until she stopped at a soda fountain for some much-needed refreshment. We typically like to avoid dodging cars while waiting for our quesadillas. (Photo: Flickr/ Dave S.)
6. Crazed Naked People.
Taco Bell is a definite no-go, but McDonald’s might not be a safe-haven either. Last year a woman burst into a McDonald’s in St. Petersburg, crazed and half-naked, demanding food. While this is the emotional state many of us first entered this world in, it’s not a spectacle worth recreating at a local McDonald’s. In a LiveLeak video, the woman can be seen throwing cash registers off the counter, catapulting trays, and eating soft-serve directly from the machine. While many of us are occassional late-night McDonald’s patrons, this video offers scared-straight footage that reminds us of the dangers that come with both midnight food cravings and dining in Florida. (Photo: LiveLink)
7.Having Your Car Set on Fire.
Florida seems to have a freaky full-moon effect on late-night fast-food goers. While we all have emotional, maybe gut-wrenching responses to being denied food, one Florida woman took it to the next level and decided to set her friend’s car on fire after he refused to buy her a McFlurry, effectively turning the McDonald’s into a scene from Grand Theft Auto 5. The woman doused her friend’s car in gasoline before lighting a match and watching it burn. By the time the police showed up, the woman had disappeared. While we would have loved to watch the visual effects and slo-mo turnaround that must have occurred when she fled the burning vehicle, we’d rather have our McFlurry trips drama-free and fire-proof. (Photo: Wikipedia/ Aaron Logan)
8. You Could Be Offered a Live Shark.
In another unusual display of Florida marine life, one man brought a live shark outside a grocery store in the hopes of selling it to patrons. The Sun Sentinel writes that after catching the shark off the Intercostal Waterway, Patrick Lanier “felt like a leprechaun” and decided to sell his lucky catch. More surprisingly, after nobody seemed interested, Lanier put the shark back in his car and eventually released it back into Florida waters. We’d like our interactions with live sharks to remain non-existent, making this a pretty compelling reason not to venture to a Florida supermarket anytime soon. (Photo: Flickr/ Joi Ito)
9. God Doesn’t Want You To.
It seems like no chain restaurant is safe. Adding to the pyro displays in chain restaurants, a Wendy’s in Gainseville, Florida felt the wrath of God as a lightning bolt was unleashed on the fast-food location. The video above shows the exact moment the lightning hits the Wendy’s, illuminating the restaurant and parking lot in a fiery red glow.
10. There Might Be Worms in Your McChicken Sandwich.
While many McDonald’s trips can feel like an emotional journey leading to some sort of self-realization, one woman reached an unsettling discovery when she ordered chicken sandwiches at a McDonald’s in Jacksonville. According to a local Fox station in Jacksonville, Joyce Fedd found not one, but two worms inside of her McDonald’s McChicken sandwich. Worms are disgusting; no one wants to eat those, unless René Redzepi foraged them. And you should be especially wary of Florida worms, which could be hyped up on flakka and eat your face off. (Photo: Flickr)