Ruby wrote (in the "Poorly treated at Pastis" thread on the Manhattan board)
"IMO, people who can afford to eat at places like Balthazar and Pastis do not go with the freeloader's expectation of being "comped" or getting a free salad"
I'm afraid that's just not true. People are MORE apt to shoot for comps in pricy restaurant, where they realize that comps will be more easily forthcoming. Sleazy people's ability to pay bill A in no way affects their likeliness to aim for comped meal B.
Open a restaurant, and you WILL face frequent instances of fake foreign object claims. It's unavoidable. And it can be hard to pick out the rare genuine instances, and so there's a dismaying tendency to give them short shrift. The best places with the best service train themselves to express great concern regardless of their suspicions. Others may not do such a great job. It's a problem.
As a diner, this is what I do when I find something gross or dangerous in food. I walk over to the maitre d' (I almost NEVER call a maitre d' to a table, that's a taboo thing for me) and say, VERY quietly and confidentially, "hi. listen, I'm not quite sure how to tell you this, because I realize you get moochers and loonballs with stories like this in here all the time....but I just found a XX in my soup. I'm NOT looking for anything comped from you, and I realize that accidents happen. But I'm a little put off, and my appetite's gone. Would it be possible to cancel the rest of our meal? I'll be happy to pay for everything we've eaten thus far...except, of course for the soup".
That sort of reasoned, insider-savvy approach is the most chowhoundish solution, I think.