Author Topic: always ask the price  (Read 11483 times)

Runrooster

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always ask the price
« on: January 04, 2020, 08:50:38 PM »
So I was at a large group work lunch at a moderately nice Italian place.
Debating between 3 specials, the veal, flounder, or sea bass. 
The veal and flounder were listed at $13/$14, while most of the regular dishes were $16 and up, so I assumed the bass was similar.
Some of the other people mentioned getting the flounder/veal, so I decided to be different and go for the sea bass.  In the end they all changed their mind and ordered the chicken marsala.
Enjoyed the dish, nothing spectacular, came with a side of linguini marinara and broccoli.
Asked the boss when the bill came, how much it was. He lied and said $18.
Checked it out, actually $35.
OMG, I haven't paid that much (not that I was paying) since buying sushi at a nice place in college (inflation-adjusted).
For reference, I usually skip drinks (someone else ordered a mai tai) and last time I shared an entree, so I'm not in the habit of splurging just because it's someone else's dime.  I'm sure I would have been as happy with the flounder, or more happy with (apparently cheaper) lobster.

ETA: In case it wasn't clear, I'm blaming myself on this one.  I think "normal" people know that sea bass is this pricey, luxury item. I am out of the loop.  I ate the leftovers today, trying to see if it tasted expensive now that I know it is. Nope, I'll take sashimi or lobster any day.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2020, 07:07:08 PM by Runrooster »

clarkfan1979

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2020, 09:40:27 PM »
I was at a trendy "bistro" in the Denver area with a group of 8. A beer was listed for $5 and they charged us $6. I think we ordered about 12 of them. After tax and tip, that is a $15 difference on the total bill.

I showed the waitress the bill and the menu and she went to talk to the manager. When she came back, she was super rude and said, "We will do this for you this time, but next time, this beer is $6". I replied, "That works for me, because I'm never coming back here again." I think that was about 3 years ago and I have never been back.


Bloop Bloop

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2020, 07:18:29 PM »
I have been stung by restaurants that charge a sneaky 10%/15% public holiday surcharge (I'm fine with the idea of a surcharge, but it needs to be displayed prominently on the menu - not left to a small sign at the check-out counter) or that arbitrarily donate $2 per customer "to charity" and then add that to the bill.

I find if you simply hold your line and offer to either pay the correct amount or walk out, the businesses will accede, every single time.

The business is never right. In this era of complaints to fair trading and the ability to just walk away (enforcement costs over a civil dispute are high), the customer is always right.

gooki

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2020, 11:57:21 PM »
Quote
I showed the waitress the bill and the menu and she went to talk to the manager. When she came back, she was super rude and said, "We will do this for you this time, but next time, this beer is $6". I replied, "That works for me, because I'm never coming back here again." I think that was about 3 years ago and I have never been back.

Shit like this really grinds my gears. Like you I never go back if the can’t get simple things like their prices right.

partgypsy

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2020, 11:06:40 AM »
And here is an opposite story. For Christmas dinner I met a number of friends for dinner at a Chinese restaurant. More people came than RSVPed, and two came late, who they found seating at a booth, so at least 12 people at one table. When I was leaving I paid for my meals and saw the large group check, that they did NOT put an additional group surcharge or any tip on the bill.

So I was pleasantly surprised. The place was SLAMMED and yet they were very good filling at orders, refilling hot tea, etc.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2020, 11:17:40 AM by partgypsy »

eljefe-speaks

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2020, 11:16:53 AM »
Asked the boss when the bill came, how much it was. He lied and said $18.

Classy move.

Hunny156

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2020, 12:04:55 PM »
I was just at a fancy Italian restaurant w/friends this past weekend, and the fish special was Sea Bass too, but I did hear the waiter mention $32 before moving onto the next special.  I too thought that was a bit high, as the avg dish price was closer to $20.  Thankfully, Hubby didn't just blindly order it, as he tends to just order soup to nuts and not pay any attn to pricing.

The waiter did manage to get hubby and one of our friends when we all ordered pasta dishes, as he offered the option to add various protein options to the dish.  Both decided to get scallops.  6 scallops over 2 dishes added an extra $15 to the bill.

Sadly, not nearly as bad as the two drinks the other friend ordered; Italian Kiss was $10, glass of Prosecco was $12!

Thankfully, we don't do this very often, as we just split the bill w/these friends.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2020, 12:10:04 PM by Hunny156 »

Monerexia

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2020, 10:01:19 PM »
It's been so long I almost forgot they still make restaurants. Like ole Munger said once, *solve that problem with avoidance haha

The_Big_H

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2020, 08:27:42 PM »
Ive found it funny that so many restaurants, the food menu has prices and the drink menu doesn't.  someone should try "well you didn't have or state a price when I ordered it, therefore I assumed its free... like the water"

talltexan

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2020, 08:46:01 AM »
I have been stung by restaurants that charge a sneaky 10%/15% public holiday surcharge (I'm fine with the idea of a surcharge, but it needs to be displayed prominently on the menu - not left to a small sign at the check-out counter) or that arbitrarily donate $2 per customer "to charity" and then add that to the bill.

I find if you simply hold your line and offer to either pay the correct amount or walk out, the businesses will accede, every single time.

The business is never right. In this era of complaints to fair trading and the ability to just walk away (enforcement costs over a civil dispute are high), the customer is always right.

I recall seeing news items about prominent sporting events provoking this kind of charge. The idea is that all the drunken revelry together with crowds producing peak demand for tables means that Restaurants (and their staff) should get a few more bucks. Agreed that they should advertise this premium.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2020, 03:12:14 PM »
And here is an opposite story. For Christmas dinner I met a number of friends for dinner at a Chinese restaurant. More people came than RSVPed, and two came late, who they found seating at a booth, so at least 12 people at one table. When I was leaving I paid for my meals and saw the large group check, that they did NOT put an additional group surcharge or any tip on the bill.

So I was pleasantly surprised. The place was SLAMMED and yet they were very good filling at orders, refilling hot tea, etc.
I don't understand the reasoning behind a group surcharge.  I'd argue that having a large group makes things *easier* for the waitstaff in terms of time-spent-per-customer, since you'd be making a single visit to a table to check 12 guests instead of 3 different tables of 4 people each.  Can someone explain why a group surcharge is a thing?

I could understand it if you made a reservation for X people and X/2 people showed up.

BDWW

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2020, 04:14:14 PM »
And here is an opposite story. For Christmas dinner I met a number of friends for dinner at a Chinese restaurant. More people came than RSVPed, and two came late, who they found seating at a booth, so at least 12 people at one table. When I was leaving I paid for my meals and saw the large group check, that they did NOT put an additional group surcharge or any tip on the bill.

So I was pleasantly surprised. The place was SLAMMED and yet they were very good filling at orders, refilling hot tea, etc.
I don't understand the reasoning behind a group surcharge.  I'd argue that having a large group makes things *easier* for the waitstaff in terms of time-spent-per-customer, since you'd be making a single visit to a table to check 12 guests instead of 3 different tables of 4 people each.  Can someone explain why a group surcharge is a thing?

I could understand it if you made a reservation for X people and X/2 people showed up.

It doesn't really scale. It's easier to compartmentalize and keep 3x4 orders straight than 12. Also timing in the kitchen can be much more difficult. Trying to time 12 plates to arrive at approximately the same time is much more difficult. Also, much more likely there is going to be ticket splitting which is a bit of headache, especially if not notified in advance, and it's all run under one initially. Tying up the bar staff to fill 12 drink orders, messes up the timing on other smaller tables/increases the wait time for them. 12 plates/etc dumped on the dishwashers at once is more difficult than a more regular cadence from smaller tables. etc etc.
Also, there's seems to be a psychological thing where the percentage tip is smaller on a large table as the nominal figure is bigger, so wait staff are wary even if the other issues don't manifest.


Dollar Slice

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2020, 04:44:38 PM »
I remember one time seeing an unusual citrus fruit at the supermarket that I'd never seen before, and there was no price marked. I figured, hey, it's a piece of fruit, how much can it possibly be? So I grabbed one just to try it. It rang up at $14... the cashier was as surprised as I was. She discounted it for me just on principle ("that can't be right!") - still expensive for fruit, but not quite as insane - and when I got it home it turned out to be one of those citron-type fruits that is all rind and pith and no actual edible fruit. *sad trombone noise*

After moving to NYC I just don't buy things that don't have prices marked, because it's very common for a regular non-fancy supermarket to have batshit crazy prices on a few random items (sometimes double or triple the cost of a similar product at Whole Foods, to give you an idea). Woe to the casual shopper who says, "meh - I don't see a price, but how much could it possibly be?"

Also, there's seems to be a psychological thing where the percentage tip is smaller on a large table as the nominal figure is bigger, so wait staff are wary even if the other issues don't manifest.

Yeah. People tip in part to be recognized as generous/good tippers, and being in a big group can remove that motivation. If you're in a large group, IME there's a certain kind of person who will purposely underpay, figuring that no one will realize it was them - thus bringing down the total tip. Enforcing a minimum tip makes sense to me in that situation, you can always talk to the manager to remove it if there was something really heinous happening with your service. (I've never personally seen a 'group surcharge' so I'm not sure when that would apply...)

JLee

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2020, 04:47:44 PM »
I remember one time seeing an unusual citrus fruit at the supermarket that I'd never seen before, and there was no price marked. I figured, hey, it's a piece of fruit, how much can it possibly be? So I grabbed one just to try it. It rang up at $14... the cashier was as surprised as I was. She discounted it for me just on principle ("that can't be right!") - still expensive for fruit, but not quite as insane - and when I got it home it turned out to be one of those citron-type fruits that is all rind and pith and no actual edible fruit. *sad trombone noise*

After moving to NYC I just don't buy things that don't have prices marked, because it's very common for a regular non-fancy supermarket to have batshit crazy prices on a few random items (sometimes double or triple the cost of a similar product at Whole Foods, to give you an idea). Woe to the casual shopper who says, "meh - I don't see a price, but how much could it possibly be?"

Also, there's seems to be a psychological thing where the percentage tip is smaller on a large table as the nominal figure is bigger, so wait staff are wary even if the other issues don't manifest.

Yeah. People tip in part to be recognized as generous/good tippers, and being in a big group can remove that motivation. If you're in a large group, IME there's a certain kind of person who will purposely underpay, figuring that no one will realize it was them - thus bringing down the total tip. Enforcing a minimum tip makes sense to me in that situation, you can always talk to the manager to remove it if there was something really heinous happening with your service. (I've never personally seen a 'group surcharge' so I'm not sure when that would apply...)

Ahh I think I saw those too, but did see the price and was astonished!  Buddha's Hand?

Dollar Slice

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2020, 05:36:52 PM »
Ahh I think I saw those too, but did see the price and was astonished!  Buddha's Hand?

Yes. This was a good 12 years ago, back when I lived in the Boston metro area... I had never seen one before, and there was no label saying what it was or how much it cost.

TVRodriguez

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2020, 03:13:54 PM »
And here is an opposite story. For Christmas dinner I met a number of friends for dinner at a Chinese restaurant. More people came than RSVPed, and two came late, who they found seating at a booth, so at least 12 people at one table. When I was leaving I paid for my meals and saw the large group check, that they did NOT put an additional group surcharge or any tip on the bill.

So I was pleasantly surprised. The place was SLAMMED and yet they were very good filling at orders, refilling hot tea, etc.
I don't understand the reasoning behind a group surcharge.  I'd argue that having a large group makes things *easier* for the waitstaff in terms of time-spent-per-customer, since you'd be making a single visit to a table to check 12 guests instead of 3 different tables of 4 people each.  Can someone explain why a group surcharge is a thing?

I could understand it if you made a reservation for X people and X/2 people showed up.

It doesn't really scale. It's easier to compartmentalize and keep 3x4 orders straight than 12. Also timing in the kitchen can be much more difficult. Trying to time 12 plates to arrive at approximately the same time is much more difficult. Also, much more likely there is going to be ticket splitting which is a bit of headache, especially if not notified in advance, and it's all run under one initially. Tying up the bar staff to fill 12 drink orders, messes up the timing on other smaller tables/increases the wait time for them. 12 plates/etc dumped on the dishwashers at once is more difficult than a more regular cadence from smaller tables. etc etc.
Also, there's seems to be a psychological thing where the percentage tip is smaller on a large table as the nominal figure is bigger, so wait staff are wary even if the other issues don't manifest.

@BDWW is spot on.  I only waited tables for a short time (because I sucked at it), but large groups were the WORST.  Demanding, changing orders midway through the table, ("oh, wait, that sounds good, scratch whatever I said earlier, which I don't remember, and get me what she's having"), someone leaving early and throwing money on the table that doesn't cover their share (much less the tax and tip), and the tips always came in lower as a percentage.

Hula Hoop

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2020, 02:47:45 AM »
Our city in Italy is very touristy and the locals are notorious for overcharging tourists.  I speak fluent Italian so always make that known to taxi drivers and restaurant owners (ie. by chatting about things in Italian even if not strictly necessary) to avoid being overcharged.  I think they're usually too embarrassed to do it to fellow locals or people who can call them out on it in Italian and/or call the cops.  However, we had some  foreign out of town visitors attending a work conference so we took them to a nice restaurant for lunch near the conference venue.  I was speaking English with the group as they were all foreigners (from all over the world) and English was the common language.  The waiter asked if they'd like some 'grilled vegetables' and then started bringing out plate after plate of grilled veggies in olive oil.  The out of town visitors were kind of oblivious but I had a bad feeling about it. 

When the bill arrived, he'd added Euro 12-15 euro per plate of veggies (there were around 5 plates!) so the price was way overinflated.  I looked at the menu and there were no plates of grilled veggies on there so I kicked up a fuss.  The out of town visitors looked like they just wanted to pay the crazy high bill and get out of there but I managed to get it down to a reasonable price by threatening to call the Carabinieri (in Italian).  I think the guy just thought we were suckers as this was a very touristy part of the city and we were speaking English.  Makes me so angry.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2020, 01:57:49 AM »
I've never understood how those tourist scams in western countries work. Are you afraid of your life if you don't pay? Do they physically stand over you? Because otherwise if I were disputing a bill I'd threaten to leave, and then do so. Heck, I do it in my home country when I think a charge is unfair or misleading.

dogboyslim

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2020, 03:30:36 PM »
...Enforcing a minimum tip makes sense to me in that situation, you can always talk to the manager to remove it if there was something really heinous happening with your service. (I've never personally seen a 'group surcharge' so I'm not sure when that would apply...)

Early in my career I organized a department lunch.  22 people.  We had 2 servers, and both spent almost no time helping our group.  No drink refills were offered, meals were incorrect, overall service was terrible.  I asked for the bill, and was sitting for 5 minutes before she brought it to me, even though she passed by me multiple times, and I could see her chit-catting with one of the cooks.  The bill had a 20% min gratuity for the group which on a $350 bill was $70.  I walked over to the manager, explained what happened, and told her that I was not going to pay a dime in gratuity, so we would leave $350 in cash.  She was quite apologetic, and understood saying she'd speak to the servers.  By the time I had my coat on and was walking towards the door the server had picked up the check and counted the cash and came to yell at me that I hadn't paid the right amount, making a huge scene.  Her manager was walking over, when the server screamed "you can't leave until you pay the mandatory gratuity."  I looked her in the eyes and said "If you'd paid half the attention to serving the table as you have to ensuring that the gratuity were paid, I'd have happily paid it, but you got multiple orders incorrect, and no one at the table got any refills of drinks for the entire hour we were sitting there, despite you having plenty of time to flirt with the cooks.  I've explained the poor service to your manager, and no, I won't be paying a gratuity, and neither will anyone else from our group.  Have a good day!  I turned around and left. 

When we got back to the office, my boss told me that she was going to make me do all the difficult conversations going forward, because I so calmly and politely told that server to go to hell without swearing a bit.  Unfortunately, she wasn't joking about my new duties, so I left 2 years later.

Gratuities are not mandatory, even if they say mandatory.

vern

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clarkfan1979

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2020, 03:49:12 PM »
I have a family member in the Denver area trying to get their house ready to sell. They hired a painter and the family member did not ask the price of the painter before he started. He is not professional, so I do not think the family member was worried about the price. The family member (owner) bought the paint, but not the rollers or paint brushes.

It was actually a pretty shitty painting job. It looks like this was his first painting gig ever. After the 20 hour job, he charged them $1200. That's $60/hour for a very shitty amateur work.

I think a professional would have gotten the job done in 10-15 hours and probably charged $30-$40/hour.

Always ask the price first.

six-car-habit

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2020, 10:11:17 PM »
...Enforcing a minimum tip makes sense to me in that situation, you can always talk to the manager to remove it if there was something really heinous happening with your service. (I've never personally seen a 'group surcharge' so I'm not sure when that would apply...)

Early in my career I organized a department lunch.  22 people.  We had 2 servers, and both spent almost no time helping our group.  No drink refills were offered, meals were incorrect, overall service was terrible.  I asked for the bill, and was sitting for 5 minutes before she brought it to me, even though she passed by me multiple times, and I could see her chit-catting with one of the cooks.  The bill had a 20% min gratuity for the group which on a $350 bill was $70.  I walked over to the manager, explained what happened, and told her that I was not going to pay a dime in gratuity, so we would leave $350 in cash.  She was quite apologetic, and understood saying she'd speak to the servers.  By the time I had my coat on and was walking towards the door the server had picked up the check and counted the cash and came to yell at me that I hadn't paid the right amount, making a huge scene.  Her manager was walking over, when the server screamed "you can't leave until you pay the mandatory gratuity."  I looked her in the eyes and said "If you'd paid half the attention to serving the table as you have to ensuring that the gratuity were paid, I'd have happily paid it, but you got multiple orders incorrect, and no one at the table got any refills of drinks for the entire hour we were sitting there, despite you having plenty of time to flirt with the cooks.  I've explained the poor service to your manager, and no, I won't be paying a gratuity, and neither will anyone else from our group.  Have a good day!  I turned around and left. 

When we got back to the office, my boss told me that she was going to make me do all the difficult conversations going forward, because I so calmly and politely told that server to go to hell without swearing a bit.  Unfortunately, she wasn't joking about my new duties, so I left 2 years later.

Gratuities are not mandatory, even if they say mandatory.

  This is a nice account of what happened , thanks for the story dogboyslim.

dragoncar

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2020, 12:18:25 AM »
I've never understood how those tourist scams in western countries work. Are you afraid of your life if you don't pay? Do they physically stand over you? Because otherwise if I were disputing a bill I'd threaten to leave, and then do so. Heck, I do it in my home country when I think a charge is unfair or misleading.

It mostly relies on people being oblivious and not fighting it.   In the above situation, I'd probably just admit to myself that I was a sucker for not asking how much it would cost or complaining when too much was brought out.  Suck it up and pay an extra few euro (assuming it was split amongst a few people).

I've argued specifically in Italy a few times, and it's usually just stuff on the bill that we never ordered/received.  Always played off as an innocent mistake but they begrudgingly remove it when you ask. 

The "scam" that pissed me off the most was a sandwich in Florence where they had a bunch of nice big premade sandwiches at the front of the case, but when you ask for one, they try to hand you a tiny one from the middle.  No, I want that particularly well-stuffed one.  The fact that you won't give it to me drives home that you are just using it to deceptively sucker in hungry people.

Just Joe

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2020, 07:55:14 AM »
I don't know much about Italy in the 21st century but when I lived there you had to be on your toes all the time. Most of the time everything was good but occasionally - when least expected - someone would try to play games with the bill. The one I saw most often was buying gasoline. Back then all pumps were full service and the currency was still the Lira.

I'd ask for 35 liters and the attendant would pump 35,000 Lira worth of fuel - a lower quantity of fuel. We were paying with "gas coupons" (think pre-paid gas card) so it wasn't as simple as giving them a different amount of money. The quantity increments were fixed. Each coupon book had a few five liter coupons, a few tens and a few twenties.

I was creative a few times, never giving in. Instead of my 35 liters of fuel, if he pumped 35,000 Lira's worth, I paid 35,000 Lira in cash and kept my coupons. You could tell by his reaction when the game was up and he had lost. Still - that was alot of money for a little fuel as compared to US fuel prices back here of about a dollar per gallon. Fortunately my car was more efficient and we drove less.

Hula Hoop

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2020, 08:12:22 AM »
I've never understood how those tourist scams in western countries work. Are you afraid of your life if you don't pay? Do they physically stand over you? Because otherwise if I were disputing a bill I'd threaten to leave, and then do so. Heck, I do it in my home country when I think a charge is unfair or misleading.

In my opinion, a lot of tourists are cowed by the waiters and wanting to avoid embarrassment and not speaking the language.  I threatened to call the cops and the extra charges disappeared as they guy knew he didn't have a leg to stand on if I had actually called them.  But a a lot of tourists are uncertain of local customs, unfamiliar with the currency and don't speak the language.

acepedro45

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #25 on: January 27, 2020, 09:44:37 AM »
Back in the lira days, I once paid for a drink with a 50,000 note in a touristy area of Rome (and I was the most obvious of tourists) only to get the correct change back for a 5,000 note.

Yeah, I gave the raised eyebrow and no words. They came back with the correct change.

I think 50,000 lira was equivalent to about $100 at the time (but very hazy on the exchange rate) but regardless of amount that's pretty shameless.

UpNAtom

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2020, 12:02:11 PM »
Interesting about Italy since that is the only place I know of that 'knowingly' tried to stiff me.  I had ordered a gelato and should have gotten back 2.50 but instead was given back 0.50 in three coins (2x0.25, 1x0.10) to make it look like they had given me the correct change.  When I looked at the change in my hand I think all I said was something short like 'no'; without hesitation, the person, without even looking, grabbed 2.00 (2x1.00) and handed it to me (which tells me they knew exactly what they were doing).

Cassie

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #27 on: January 27, 2020, 12:43:07 PM »
I am never afraid to speak up if I am cheated at a restaurant. We have been to Italy twice and always ate at small family restaurants. Luckily we were never cheated.


Boofinator

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2020, 01:27:27 PM »
The comments about Italy remind me of a similar situation in the good old US of A. When I worked at Subway as a Sandwich Artist™, I had a coworker who would usually return a lesser amount of change if people paid in cash (I think it was usually a dollar). She would tally these extra dollars so that she could pull the amount from the register when her shift ended. Rarely did a customer question her, and if they did she'd apologize about her mistake and make them whole. I'm pretty sure she never got in trouble for this scheme (at least for the few months I worked there), and probably doubled her hourly earnings. (She also cooked up heroin in the back room, which I'm sure isn't cheap....)

eljefe-speaks

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #30 on: January 27, 2020, 02:17:10 PM »
Woe to the casual shopper who says, "meh - I don't see a price, but how much could it possibly be?"

This happened to me yesterday! Look, I realize macadamia nuts are going to be expensive. But when I noticed, after leaving the store of course, that the rather small plastic container rang up at $10 I was aghast. No way would I have bought them if the price tag was on the shelf. That had to be by design. Totally unethical IMHO.

economista

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #31 on: January 27, 2020, 02:17:50 PM »
https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/time-in-prison/1891307/
https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/theft-charges-dropped-against-no-tip-couple/1891608/

This reminds me of a time when this happened to me, but the outcome was the exact opposite. After a tournament my husband and I went to dinner with a friend and after being seated by the hostess we never once met our waiter. We flagged someone down to order drinks, then a half hour later we flagged down someone else and asked to order our food, then a bit later we flagged down someone else to ask about our food, then I went to the hostess stand to grab silverware. We finished eating, pushed our plates to the end of the table, and waited for someone to bring us the bill. No one ever came so we flagged down one of the waiters and asked for the manager. The manager apologized profusely, said they had a lot of people call in sick that night and apparently no one was assigned our table, and then he comped our meal entirely and told not to even worry about paying. It's still the craziest thing that has ever happened to me in a restaurant.

TVRodriguez

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #32 on: January 27, 2020, 02:39:39 PM »
Woe to the casual shopper who says, "meh - I don't see a price, but how much could it possibly be?"

This happened to me yesterday! Look, I realize macadamia nuts are going to be expensive. But when I noticed, after leaving the store of course, that the rather small plastic container rang up at $10 I was aghast. No way would I have bought them if the price tag was on the shelf. That had to be by design. Totally unethical IMHO.

Had that happen with dragonfruit one time.  $14, I think it was.  For one piece of fruit.  In 2004.

Runrooster

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #33 on: January 27, 2020, 07:08:45 PM »
Had that happen with dragonfruit one time.  $14, I think it was.  For one piece of fruit.  In 2004.

And they're so bland, you'd call them a carb if the word "fruit" wasn't in the name.  I'm assuming I tried one off the clearance rack at the Asian market, as I can't imagine paying even $4/lb they usually sell for.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #34 on: January 27, 2020, 09:51:35 PM »
I'm surprised in the US you can get arrested for failing to pay a tip. It seems clear that it's a civil matter - a breach of contract - not a criminal theft.

Here in Australia the police would never take action for a reasonable dispute between a consumer and a vendor, which emboldens me to reject any surcharges that aren't clearly printed on the menu or otherwise common sense. I just pay the "correct" amount and walk out. Never had any issues. It's not like they're going to sue me for $10.

Dollar Slice

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #35 on: January 27, 2020, 09:57:20 PM »
I'm surprised in the US you can get arrested for failing to pay a tip. It seems clear that it's a civil matter - a breach of contract - not a criminal theft.

You can get arrested for anything if the police don't know what they're doing. Then the district attorney or judge or whoever says "um, that's not actually against the law, what were you thinking?" and the charges are immediately dropped.

In an ideal world the police would not ever do dumb/bad/wrong things, but, y'know.

gooki

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #36 on: January 28, 2020, 02:07:41 AM »
Quote
I'm surprised in the US you can get arrested for failing to pay a tip. It seems clear that it's a civil matter - a breach of contract

Since when was tipping a contact? I always approached it tipping as a gift.

Gone Fishing

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #37 on: January 28, 2020, 06:03:46 AM »
I'm surprised in the US you can get arrested for failing to pay a tip. It seems clear that it's a civil matter - a breach of contract - not a criminal theft.

You can get arrested for anything if the police don't know what they're doing. Then the district attorney or judge or whoever says "um, that's not actually against the law, what were you thinking?" and the charges are immediately dropped.

In an ideal world the police would not ever do dumb/bad/wrong things, but, y'know.

I stopped in a small auto repair shop last year for a mandatory state safety inspection on my car.  The mechanic made up some BS about a belt that needed replacing before he would pass it.  I said I would just leave and go somewhere else.  He threatened to call the cops for shoplifting the work performed (looking at my lights) and stood in front of my car while holding a large wrench in his hand. I really thought things might get physical, so I conceeded to the belt change.  I probably should have told him to call the cops, but it wan't worth it for $30 or whatever it was.  I really should have put it in goolge reviews but didn't.

TVRodriguez

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #38 on: January 28, 2020, 08:42:36 AM »
Had that happen with dragonfruit one time.  $14, I think it was.  For one piece of fruit.  In 2004.

And they're so bland, you'd call them a carb if the word "fruit" wasn't in the name.  I'm assuming I tried one off the clearance rack at the Asian market, as I can't imagine paying even $4/lb they usually sell for.

Absolutely true. That was my first and last dragonfruit.

BDWW

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #39 on: January 28, 2020, 09:20:02 AM »
I'm surprised in the US you can get arrested for failing to pay a tip. It seems clear that it's a civil matter - a breach of contract - not a criminal theft.

You can get arrested for anything if the police don't know what they're doing. Then the district attorney or judge or whoever says "um, that's not actually against the law, what were you thinking?" and the charges are immediately dropped.

In an ideal world the police would not ever do dumb/bad/wrong things, but, y'know.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theft_of_services   is a criminal offense most places.

robartsd

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #40 on: January 28, 2020, 10:09:28 AM »
Quote
I'm surprised in the US you can get arrested for failing to pay a tip. It seems clear that it's a civil matter - a breach of contract

Since when was tipping a contact? I always approached it tipping as a gift.
I suppose if the menu you ordered from indicated a mandatory gratuity, ordering could be considered a verbal contract to pay the tip. I'm sure the wait staff wishes it was a gift - gifts can be received tax free - the IRS doesn't think it is a gift.

slugline

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #41 on: January 28, 2020, 01:27:07 PM »
I'm surprised in the US you can get arrested for failing to pay a tip. It seems clear that it's a civil matter - a breach of contract - not a criminal theft.

Until very recently in Texas, rent-to-own stores would file criminal theft charges on customers who fell behind on their payments.

Dicey

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #42 on: January 28, 2020, 06:12:23 PM »
I walked into a market recently. They were sampling ghee and giving away $2 coupons. The staffer handed me a jar from the display table. I've always wanted to try it. I knew it wouldn't be cheap, but I didn't realize it was going to be $14.00 after the coupon. A few weeks later, I saw it at Costco for the first time ever.  Of course, the jar was more than twice the size for less money, and no coupon required. Live and learn.

Gone Fishing

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #43 on: January 28, 2020, 06:17:22 PM »
Back when I was working, we dropped the taxes off at the same preparer we used the year prior.  Went to pick them up and the fee was 2x the year prior.  I fired them.  Used a new guy for a couple years until he told me he wouldn't give me a price until he prepared them.  I fired him. Now I do my own.

Try asking the price on a medical service!  I've actually been told that they can't tell me until after the procedure was done and billed.  They do seem to be getting better, at least on larger ticket items.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2020, 06:19:06 PM by Gone Fishing »

Runrooster

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #44 on: January 28, 2020, 07:33:18 PM »
Back when I was working, we dropped the taxes off at the same preparer we used the year prior.  Went to pick them up and the fee was 2x the year prior.  I fired them.  Used a new guy for a couple years until he told me he wouldn't give me a price until he prepared them.  I fired him. Now I do my own.

Try asking the price on a medical service!  I've actually been told that they can't tell me until after the procedure was done and billed.  They do seem to be getting better, at least on larger ticket items.

I do taxes, and not only do we tell you the price, but we tell you what refund/taxes you owe before you commit to paying.  Unfortunately, that means people use turbotax and then come to us to make sure they did it right.  If we get them a bigger refund (rare), they use us. Otherwise, they just waste our time.

I also work in the medical field, and yes we don't know exactly what the doctor will bill until he does it, but we usually give out a range.  And definitely with the procedures, if we know what the doctor ordered, we can give you the code and you can call up your insurance company to figure out negotiated rate, deductible, copay, etc. 

K-ice

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #45 on: January 28, 2020, 08:06:38 PM »
I hate it when the price of “specials” is not clearly listed.


The "scam" that pissed me off the most was a sandwich in Florence where they had a bunch of nice big premade sandwiches at the front of the case, but when you ask for one, they try to hand you a tiny one from the middle.  No, I want that particularly well-stuffed one.  The fact that you won't give it to me drives home that you are just using it to deceptively sucker in hungry people.

I always like to request the best looking piece of pizza or pie or whatever. I figure it’s just good practice to make your customers happy. And the second biggest piece is now the best for the next person.

But I understand the Italians were just planning a bait & switch.

Dollar Slice

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #46 on: January 28, 2020, 09:04:58 PM »
Try asking the price on a medical service!  I've actually been told that they can't tell me until after the procedure was done and billed.  They do seem to be getting better, at least on larger ticket items.

I've been dealing with this recently. I switched to a much cheaper insurance that doesn't cover this one specialist I see (and they're amazing so I am willing to stick with them anyway). I e-mailed in advance to get a price if I paid in cash with no insurance, and they gave me a pretty large range ($200-$500). Then I got to the appointment and said "how much do I owe you" and explained again I was paying cash. And they said $700. I showed them the e-mail they'd sent me quoting $200-$500 and explained I wasn't willing to pay $700. The person left to ask someone and never returned. The doctor called me in for my appointment and I refused to go in until someone could tell me what I was going to owe. The doctor told them to sort it out and they finally said it was $250. OK, awesome. Paid it. Couple months later? Bill in the mail for the balance of the $700. And they billed it to my insurance (who rejected it) after I told them several times not to. I've been waiting a week to hear back from the company they outsource billing to.

For bonus points, before I got the bill I had another (more complex) appointment with them and the exact same thing happened, and my insurance rejected it, so I'm going to get another bill for another $1000 even though I also paid that appointment in full in cash.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #47 on: January 28, 2020, 11:20:22 PM »
I'm surprised in the US you can get arrested for failing to pay a tip. It seems clear that it's a civil matter - a breach of contract - not a criminal theft.

Until very recently in Texas, rent-to-own stores would file criminal theft charges on customers who fell behind on their payments.

Yikes. I think that's harsh. That said, there's got to be a happy medium between the interests of debtors and creditors, but filing criminal theft charges at an early stage is not something that seems balanced to me.

Paul der Krake

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #48 on: January 28, 2020, 11:34:22 PM »
Try asking the price on a medical service!  I've actually been told that they can't tell me until after the procedure was done and billed.  They do seem to be getting better, at least on larger ticket items.

I've been dealing with this recently. I switched to a much cheaper insurance that doesn't cover this one specialist I see (and they're amazing so I am willing to stick with them anyway). I e-mailed in advance to get a price if I paid in cash with no insurance, and they gave me a pretty large range ($200-$500). Then I got to the appointment and said "how much do I owe you" and explained again I was paying cash. And they said $700. I showed them the e-mail they'd sent me quoting $200-$500 and explained I wasn't willing to pay $700. The person left to ask someone and never returned. The doctor called me in for my appointment and I refused to go in until someone could tell me what I was going to owe. The doctor told them to sort it out and they finally said it was $250. OK, awesome. Paid it. Couple months later? Bill in the mail for the balance of the $700. And they billed it to my insurance (who rejected it) after I told them several times not to. I've been waiting a week to hear back from the company they outsource billing to.

For bonus points, before I got the bill I had another (more complex) appointment with them and the exact same thing happened, and my insurance rejected it, so I'm going to get another bill for another $1000 even though I also paid that appointment in full in cash.
As someone who has dealt with a lot of doctors' offices: they don't know anything and just go off a script. It's a mind-numbing customer service job with absolutely no room for initiative or creativity. You'd have better luck asking a Walmart greeter to run the quarterly earnings conference call.

dragoncar

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Re: always ask the price
« Reply #49 on: January 29, 2020, 12:50:55 AM »
I'm surprised in the US you can get arrested for failing to pay a tip. It seems clear that it's a civil matter - a breach of contract - not a criminal theft.

You can get arrested for anything if the police don't know what they're doing. Then the district attorney or judge or whoever says "um, that's not actually against the law, what were you thinking?" and the charges are immediately dropped.

In an ideal world the police would not ever do dumb/bad/wrong things, but, y'know.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theft_of_services   is a criminal offense most places.

That might apply to a service charge, but gratuities are by definition voluntary

In the referenced article, they are talking about a service charge.  But where there is a bona fide dispute as to whether the charged services were actually rendered, that is not usually a criminal matter (think going into a restaurant with no intention of actually paying for your meal vs. disputing a bill where the meal did not meet your expectations)
« Last Edit: January 29, 2020, 12:54:42 AM by dragoncar »