Author Topic: always ask the price  (Read 2544 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 canít 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.