Imagine this: you’re going to meet that guy or girl you’ve been chatting to on your go-to dating app, and your date has taken the lead in choosing the restaurant for this first meeting.
You arrive and wait but, in the end, your date never shows up. While waiting, you ordered a drink, maybe two, and perhaps something to eat.
This might sound like the plot to a B-movie but, sadly, it is apparently taking place in the real world. Case in point: a TikTok user in the United States recently called out this deceptive new practice, dubbed “food digging”.
The idea is that restaurant owners are creating fake profiles on dating apps such as Tinder to start chatting with someone, arrange to meet them at their specific eatery, and then ultimately stand them up.
Since the jilted date is already in the restaurant, they order a drink or food while waiting; or, when they realise they’ve been stood up, they go ahead and order dinner anyway.
“It wasn’t until I got home and I was scrolling Facebook and I saw a very similar story from a girl, that same restaurant, who also got stood up,” the TikTokker said.
Ultimately, this “food digging” trick – which is related to the term “gold digging” – is all about pushing people to consume through unscrupulous means.
“Restaurants now posing as people on dating apps, just so you go to their business. And once you get stood up, they know that probably nine times out of 10 you’re going to buy something from them.”
The TikTokker points out that after failing to turn up, the user is usually unmatched by the fraudster. Notably, the culprits are usually quick to suggest meeting and insist on a specific restaurant straightaway, so this could be a red flag to watch out for.
By all online accounts, netizens first heard about the food-digging phenomenon when people from India started posting online that it was happening in their country, leading victims elsewhere to start sharing similar stories.