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How do you handle it when the waitress adds a wrong charge to your bill?

Last week I ordered an entree that came with soup on the side...when the bill came, there was a charge of $2.99 for the soup. I knew that was wrong because I had eaten that item before and I re-checked the menu to verify that the soup is included. When the waitress came by I asked "Isn't the soup included in the price of the sandwich?". She immediately apologized and went back and re-did the bill. My final bill after removing the erroneous charge was $11-something and I left $15.00.

Now of course I feel kind of guilty about it, like it was only $2.99 and maybe she was really humiliated.

But my inner I-hate-being-screwed made it impossible for me not to say something.

I was right, right? Or maybe not?

[I was just thinking, maybe this is called a "reverse-comp" LOL].

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  1. Hey people make mistakes, it's not personal, just right. You both did the correct thing. How about if the shoe were on the other foot, say you were having a beer and a sammie, then ordered another beer and when the check came there was only a charge for one beer what would you do?

    1 Reply
    1. re: cstr

      Ooooh, good question, cstr!

      To the OP, I can tell you the server was not humiliated or anything of the sort. She made a minor error and happily corrected it. No big whup.

    2. I'd handle it just like you did. politely and w/o fuss. And if the reverse happened, I'd do the same. Just point out that something was left off. We've had that happen a few times, and sometimes they just leave it off. :)

      1. Too much analysis. She made a mistake, no big deal. It's not like she is perfect. No one is.

        1. When this happens, I quietly call the server aside, and inquire. To date, I have never had anyone balk, when I was correct, and changes are forthcoming. I have been wrong in a few instances, and an explanation has sufficed.

          Also, when the bill has missed something, i call that to the server's attention, as well.


          1. John,

            I cannot say it is right or wrong, but I would handle it just like you did.

            1. You did nothing wrong, and if you were polite about it (as it seemed you were), she wouldn't have been embarrassed. In my job, I **like** knowing when I've done the wrong thing according to company policy.

              How funny, because almost EXACTLY this same thing happened to me tonight, except it was getting charged for a full cup of soup a la carte instead of the "add a cup" charge of 99 cents. The manager was actually over-the-top nice and gave us two free entrees on our next visit. Talk about a place we'll continue to patronize for a long time.

              10 Replies
              1. re: dmd_kc

                Holy Moly, that IS over the top, but shows that a GM, or owner is trying to be atop it. I wish him/her luck, and glad to hear that proprietors actually are concerned. Doesn't happen as often as one would hope, especially considering the economy in most places on the globe.


                1. re: dmd_kc

                  Huh. We had nearly the opposite awhile back. Bill came, was wrong. Reported it to the waitress "I think you missed our coupon". She apologized, came back with new bill, still wrong. Again "It's still off, see you did this instead of that". 5 minutes later the manager came over with the correct bill and some extra info "I think this is right, by the way, Amanda is in the back, she's a little weepy now".

                  We were with the whole family (12 of us) and although I can be sarcastic/grating/etc, it wasn't even ME who had the conversation with her, it was my psychologist b-i-l, who gets along with everyone.

                  We never went back. Couldn't bear to see Amanda with her mascara smudged.

                  1. re: L2k

                    Why did she (Amanda) cry then? If you brother in law was nice to her and her manger did not seem to have yelled at her.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      I think she was frustrated over getting the bill wrong multiple times. Again, if *I* had been the one talking to her, there would be more doubt over what caused the tears (or perhaps less doubt)! :)

                      1. re: L2k


                        Yeah, after writing the last reply, I realized that she was probably upset at herself, like "Why can't I ge this right? I am so useless" and then burst into tears.

                        The incident was the spark, but the explosive was already there. There were probably other things in her life.

                    2. re: L2k

                      I think it was rude for the manager to make you feel bad by telling you where Amanda was.

                      1. re: melpy

                        I don't know about rude, but the manager clearly want L2K to know that she was crying, maybe the manager wanted them to comfort Amanda a bit.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          If it was done politely, then there was no need for crying. If he wanted comfort for the server, he could go comfort her himself. When I go out to eat I don't want to end my evening by comforting my server. I am myself a very sensitive person and understand the server's feelings but I am not going to eat out to feel bad about my server's feelings. It is unnecessary information to say that she is weepy.

                      2. re: L2k

                        "We never went back. Couldn't bear to see Amanda with her mascara smudged."

                        Ahahaha!!! Thank you for the laugh!

                        Who knows what the intent of the manager was in telling you she was "a little weepy". Maybe he was trying to save her tip.

                      3. re: dmd_kc

                        They didn't give ME two free entrees!

                        1. Say you went and they had a happy hour special from 4-6 and appetizers were half priced and you went at 6:30 and were only charged half price. Would you have made such a stink over the waitress' mistake?

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: jhopp217

                            I really don't think asking if the soup is included is making a stink. There was a misunderstanding/mistake, and the OP inquired about it-it sounds like s/he even asked rather than making a flat statement or demanding it be removed. Really, I've very non-confrontational and this whole thing seems like kind of a lot of angst over a non-issue to me. People make mistakes everyday, and this one was incredibly minor and easily corrected. I'm sure the server had an embarrassed, "duh" moment, but I very much doubt she went home and cried in her pillow or scheduled an extra appointment with her shrink over a $3 mistake on a bill.

                            If your happy hour situation happened to me, I'd as about it in a very similar way-"I thought HH ended at 6?" I don't think either question is out of line or should be considered causing a scene.

                            1. re: ErnieD


                              I think a better question is: Are you allowed to be happy if the the happy hour has ended?

                          2. UPDATE from OP...I was back at the same restaurant last night for a late night dessert and they gave me the very same waitress! She recognized me and said she remembered me from the last time I was there! She was all nice and friendly, didn't even mention the soup mistake. Apparently no hard feelings. (oh, and she didn't make any mistakes this time).

                            When I was finished she said she hoped to be my waitress again next time. I smiled and thought "ok fine, as long as you don't screw up my bill again."

                            1. Out for breakfast this AM, ordered the "Number 6", which, for $6.95 is:
                              A Belgium waffle, with your choice of toppings
                              Bacon or Sausage
                              Coffee or Tea

                              On the a la carte menu, you can get a plain waffle (ok, a plain "belgium" waffle), or, for a buck more, you can have strawberries, bananas, or blueberries on top), so I ordered my waffle with bananas.

                              Enjoyed my waffle and the bananas (which came in a plastic cup for me to spread), and the bacon. I'm not a coffee drinker, so just had water. Bill comes, I know tax is going to be about $.50, so I have $9 ready (was eating at the counter, I figured $1.50 on a $7 bill was fair), but I see it's $7.95 + tax, and "bananas" was charged at $1.

                              Called the waitress over, asked her "doesn't the Number 6 come with "your choice of toppings"?" She says she'll check, she looks at the menu, comes back and says "I think that just means strawberries". I said "it says choice of toppings, and on the list of toppings it includes bananas". She looks at me and asks "do you want me to adjust the bill?"

                              Now, after I left the restaurant, I came up with quite a few replies. Some of which might have been fun to have said, some of which would have resulted in me never going back. What I came up with was "well, I'm leaving the same amount of money whether you adjust it or not, so it's up to you", left the $9 on the counter, and left.

                              This isn't the first time I've heard that question about a wrong bill. Was there a better way I could have handled it?

                              For the record, I used to go to a lunch place fairly regularly (every other week), and after a few months I noticed the wait staff (who I always shared friendly banter with) stopped charging me for my soda. I still paid as if it was on the bill -- how they handled the funds wasn't my concern. I figured this was the same thing.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: L2k

                                I think that I would have pointed out the differences, and helped the waitstaff to calculate things. If they did so with a smile, I'd probably have tipped on the mistake, but that is just me.


                              2. you were very right, and there is zero question about that.