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does the gesture outweigh choice?

Does the 'nice gesture' of being given a complimentary item outweigh not having a choice in what you eat?

For example, are you still happy if a restaurant sends you the decadent chocolate dessert on your birthday even though, if presented with the dessert menu, you would have ordered anything except chocolate? Or (shudder) soggy tiramisu when you would have preferred ANYTHING else? Would you prefer they not try to guess at what you might want, or is it the thought that counts, no matter what your taste buds say??

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  1. The thought on the part of the restaurant is lovely.

    I think you should also always order anything else you'd like in addition to what they bring.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ccbweb

      Excellent advice ccbweb! You can always fob the offending dessert off on your dining companion, or take it home and bring it to work. As a former resto owner, I'd often over-hear that there was a birthday and we'd just take our chances and send out one of our faves. (or even better, let them order what they want, and then send out a little something extra as a lagniappe). NEVER turn down a freebie! Adam

    2. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth? :)

      1. This happened to me when I turned 17- but it was the hands of my mom! She had secretly pre-ordered a mini birthday cake at Tavern on the Green when I had wanted creme brulee. (My dad didn't want to pay more for another desert so I had to eat the cake) Of course I was young and immature- nowadays I'd suck it up because it really is the thought that counts, Recently I gave a gift to a loved one and the look on the receiver's face was so horrendous- that really hurt. Obviously restaurant staff are not close loved ones, but they still did something human and gracious. Be gracious back. Thank them genuinely. Then if you still want the dessert you had originally wanted, order it.

        1. In my family, I am usually the one that arranges for the dessert to be brought, and I select it, and then after the presentation, everyone orders what they want including the birthday person. I also tell the restaurant that I want it added to the bill - I don't think we've ever had a free birthday dessert. However, we've been given dessert many times though "just because" and whatever it is, we love it. Gotta love the thoughtful gesture!!

          1. The gesture ALWAYS outweighs the choice.