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Aug 2, 2008 05:39 PM

Karma Question - What would YOU do?

A client and I celebrated his birthday dinner at one of Los Angeles' priciest sushi spots. I had already exceeded the amount of money I could spend on him with my expense account by sending him a gift, and this dinner was going to be on me. ME.

We both ordered the omakase (tasting menus), and I cringed at the waaaaay expensive sake he chose. Food was fine (not outstanding), and the service was just horrid. Not to mention, our two top was literally right next to another two top. Bottom line is, I wasn't happy at all with anything (especially since I was paying. Did I mention that already?).

And here's where it gets interesting: The bill comes out and I notice it was only $40, when it should have been somewhere in the neighborhood of $350. I attempted to flag down the waitress, but was ignored.

Five minutes or so later, after I ran out of mindless conversation with my client, I stood up and showed the check to our server, who could have sworn on her life my bill was correct. After my insisting she double check, she added it up again and, embarassed, presented me with my hefty and accurate bill. And, that was it. No "thank you". She did say something like she could have been fired if I didn't bring it to her attention.

It would have been nice to keep the money, have a nice meal on the house, never show face in this place again, and hit the race tracks. But, I didn't. And, to add insult to injury, on the bottom of the receipt was a suggested tip of 25%, which I felt obligated to give.

What would YOU have done?

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  1. What you did except for the tipping 25%.

    I'm of the sort that thinks what goes around comes around. I'm sorry the meal wasn't very good but that's not why you considered not paying the full bill.

    Perhaps a less expensive restaurant next time?

    3 Replies
    1. re: three of us

      One person's bad Karma may be another person's good Karma. I would have taken it to be a blessing from the Money Gods if that happened to me, especially if I was miserable during most of the dining experience. If after the first attempt to rectify the situation was slighted or ignored, I would have paid the bill that was presented to me. I would then take the difference and donate it to the client's favorite charity. That way your conscious would be clean.

      1. re: MrsT

        I don't understand what the clients favorite charity has to do with anthing. There was a mistake made, the OP did the right thing by correcting it and paying the correct bill. Would your conscious be clean if the server lost her job because of you?

        1. re: chipman

          The OP was right in trying to correct the mistake. I never said otherwise, but if after some failed attempts in trying to make the correction I may have given up. I just don't like taking something for nothing. I would rather donate what I would have spent on something worthwhile.

          Also if that server lost their job, it wouldn't have been because of me. It would have been because of their horrible service and poor addition skills.

    2. The only thing I may have done differently is to ignore the suggested 25% tip and go with something closer to 20. Service was awful, etc.

      As for the rest of it, I would have done just as you did. It stings to pay so dearly for something so unsatisfactory, but less than the bad feeling you'd have forever from cheating the restaurant.

      Sorry it happened this way! You certainly did your best to treat your client well.

      2 Replies
      1. re: fern

        I would never tip 20% for awful service!!!

        1. re: scuzzo

          Of course, you're right. That part of my answer was dumb!

      2. This client should bring you everything you ever need. And if not, then another client should pop up that costs you much less and brings you much more. And in the meantime, the waitress gets bunions, gets fired, and gets a new job cleaning the grease traps at McDonalds. The sushi restaurant owner gets sued for serving rotten fish, goes out of business, and opens a shoe store. But the chefs end up in other (not necessarily better) positions - having served you fine (but not outstanding) food.

        That's Karma for you. What else could you have done? If you had paid the $50 ($40+tip), you'd probably have gone home and hugged the toilet bowl for 3 days. And THEN, you would have sued the sushiya and never, ever, have had to buy a client anything out of your pocket, ever again! ;-)

        1. Agree with the others. Paying the bill is one thing, but tacking on a "suggested" tip wouldn't have been on my agenda for that night.

          1. OMG! 25%??!!??!! WTF? Unheard of, esp. since you helped her out! I am beside my self. On the up side, your Karmic payback is so that you will never have to do anyone else a 'solid' for the rest of your existence on the planet. Congratulations Frank! This situation demonstrates why my Karma remains **not good**.