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Sweden’s supposed to be neutral when it comes to conflicts, but I’ve got a major conflict with them right now and it needs a goddamn resolution. I had been in the country for two and a half days and already got food-jacked twice by stealthy, uncaring waiters. I’m starting to sense a pattern here: the waiter drops off delicious food, I either start to eat it or plan on saving something for later, some time passes, I look away or get distracted and the waiter swoops in and clears my plate, stealing my food away from me before I can finish it.

The first offense occurred at an upscale restaurant. I sat down and saw a date-stamped bag sitting on my plate that contained homemade crackers and breadsticks. I kept them next to my plate and ate my meal, figuring I could munch on them throughout lunch and save whatever I didn’t end up eating for later. Once lunch was finished, my waitress walked over and briskly stacked all of the dirty plates, turned to leave, and Stretch Armstrong’d my bag of snacks off the table before heading back to the kitchen. I sat there with my mouth agape, wondering why she would deprive me like that.

The next day, I was eating lunch with some colleagues when someone asked me a question. I paused to chew and swallow my food, then proceeded to give a lengthy response. While I was talking, a waiter appeared and started clearing plates off the table, including mine, which still had 1/3 of a chicken breast and several spoonfuls of cous cous. Before I could finish my sentence and blurt out “HeyI’mstilleatingdon’ttakethataway,” he was gone. I felt as if he had stolen my food, cackled maniacally and threw down a smoke bomb and disappeared in a cloudy haze.

Listen, Sweden. I don’t know how you operate over there with your 10,000 islands, ABBA tribute concerts and your Dolph Lundgren movie marathons, but over here in the good ol’ US of A we do not clear someone’s plate unless that bad boy has been licked clean. And when it does still have some food on it, we ask if the customer would like a box for the leftovers so he can take the extra food home and eat the rest of it later. Enough with the “spirited away” bullshit. Stop food-jacking me! I’ve paid good kronor for these meatballs, and I’m going to eat every last one of them. The next time you reach for my plate and I’m not done, you’re going to get a fork through your hand.

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