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Picking up the tab

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Smith38 Dec 15, 2010 07:32 AM

My husband took his staff out to dinner and one person in the group ordered a $70++ after-dinner drink[whisky]. I honestly don't believe the gentleman knew how expensive it was nonetheless, it appeared on the bill. My husband was mortified but didn't make a scene in the restaurant. Is it appropriate for the waiter to disclose the cost of the libation if it is way out of context with the rest of the meal? Should this happen again, how do you recommend he handle the situation?

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    cleobeach RE: Smith38 Dec 15, 2010 08:19 AM

    I don't think it is the waiter's responsibility to bring up the cost.

    The problem is with the $70++ booze drinker.

    If he ordered such an expensive whiskey knowing the price, well then he is a pig-ish jerk. (I encounted too many of these when someone else was paying the tab)

    If he was clueless and didn't know better, it still makes him look bad. He should have choosen a whiskey in line with the rest of the meal.

    If the prices weren't listed, he should have ordered something he recognized as not be crazy expensive or asked the waiter the cost of XYZ brand.

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    1. re: cleobeach
      BobB RE: cleobeach Dec 15, 2010 08:35 AM

      I had an experience once that may be similar to what happened here. I was in a Carrabba's Italian restaurant in the midwest and ordered a Remy after dinner. When the bill came it was for $35, for a glass of Remy Martin XO. I had just asked for a Remy without being more specific, and I had seen a bottle of plain old Remy Martin VSOP on the bar, so of course that was what I was expecting, and that would normally cost maybe $10 or so for a pour.

      I protested to the manager, and was in the end charged only for the VSOP - and what was a $120 bottle of cognac doing in a family-style chain restaurant in small-town Ohio anyway?

      But my point is, the guy may have ordered a common single-malt Scotch by name and they brought him an unusually old and expensive one. Since he didn't see the check he may not even have known what he actually got - though I do hope he enjoyed it. But in that case (as in mine), the restaurant was at fault, not the diner.

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      1. re: BobB
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        cleobeach RE: BobB Dec 15, 2010 08:50 AM

        BobB - good for you to stand your ground. That is total BS on the part of the restaurant and darn right they should adjust the charge.

        To explain my line of thinking - I used to bartend. If the waiter went came to the bar with an order for Johnnie Walker, I would ask "red, black or blue?" I would never had sent out a glass of blue without knowing that is specifically what the customer requested.

        You are right, it very well could be the restaurant's fault.

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        1. re: cleobeach
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          Sal Vanilla RE: cleobeach Dec 15, 2010 01:46 PM

          second that.

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          1. re: cleobeach
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            Smith38 RE: cleobeach Dec 16, 2010 06:24 AM

            Yes, it was Johnny Walker Blue that he ordered and, @jhopp2127, I'm in total agreement. He won't be invited back - thanks for the affirmation.

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            1. re: Smith38
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              fourunder RE: Smith38 Dec 16, 2010 06:33 AM

              if you indicated ......

              I honestly don't believe the gentleman knew how expensive it was nonetheless...

              Why the change of position now.

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              1. re: Smith38
                BubblyOne RE: Smith38 Dec 16, 2010 09:06 AM

                How exactly do you have a staff dinner and leave out one person? Unless he is no longer with the company for the next one, that is.
                Unless he was someone's date, your husband should have some idea about whether this was an error or greed on the guy's part.

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                1. re: Smith38
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                  phantomdoc RE: Smith38 Dec 17, 2010 12:07 PM

                  I find it really funny that an add for Johnny Walker Blue is showing right here>>>>>>>>

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                  1. re: phantomdoc
                    monku RE: phantomdoc Dec 17, 2010 12:37 PM

                    Product placement $$$

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            jhopp217 RE: Smith38 Dec 15, 2010 08:47 AM

            Anyone who orders a $70 whiskey knows exactly what they are doing. I say their invite is lost in the mail next year.

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            1. re: jhopp217
              BobB RE: jhopp217 Dec 15, 2010 09:25 AM

              But as I pointed out above - he may have just ordered something like "a Macallan" and the restaurant decided to pull a fast one and send out a shot of the 20- or 25-year-old stuff instead of the common 12-year-old.

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                jhopp217 RE: BobB Dec 15, 2010 11:01 AM

                I'm sure he did order something like Johnny Walker and they gave him the Blue. usually places that carry stuff like that, don't do that.

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                fourunder RE: jhopp217 Dec 16, 2010 06:39 AM

                With due respect, I beg to differ. Liquor and Wine labels and offerings are always expanding. Most people are not liquor and wine knowledgeable. I've been in the Food and Liquor Business for over 5 decades and there's a lot I do not know of....or even aware of....and I receive all the trade periodicals monthly.......

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                sedimental RE: Smith38 Dec 15, 2010 08:58 AM

                Just curious....does the whiskey drinker know *now* that he ordered a 70++ drink?

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                1. re: sedimental
                  LaLa RE: sedimental Dec 15, 2010 02:07 PM

                  I wondered that too? Or did he know your husband was paying for it or did he think it was on the company dime? Either way if he isnt extremely apologetic I would think twice about what he adds to my staff!

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                2. jfood RE: Smith38 Dec 15, 2010 10:16 AM

                  I was out with the family and one of the boyfriends accompanied. He ordered a Johnnie Walker Blue for his drink. As the waiter left I excused myself to "go to the men's room." I approached the waiter, told him to cancel the JWB and make it JW Red. Boyfriend never knew the difference and fortunately daughter told him to take a hike shortly thereafter.

                  Your husband needs to have a chat with the person, give him the benefit of the doubt and ask what he ordered, ask him if he knew the price and watch his eyes. Then he needs to have a little chat on manners and taking advantage of the boss.

                  To your questionthough, the server is your server, not the host's baby sitter. If there are limits to ordering then the host needs to make that clear to the restaurant when the reservationis made. Liquor can get way out of control for the host and he needs to be a little proactive. It happens to everyone once, people have lots of stories and i bet it never happens to your husband again.

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                  1. re: jfood
                    goodhealthgourmet RE: jfood Dec 15, 2010 02:49 PM

                    Your husband needs to have a chat with the person, give him the benefit of the doubt and ask what he ordered, ask him if he knew the price and watch his eyes. Then he needs to have a little chat on manners and taking advantage of the boss.
                    ~~~~~~
                    with all due respect, jfood, why didn't you take a similarly direct approach with the boyfriend? isn't it possible that he ordered the blue because he had perhaps heard others order it before, but didn't necessarily know the price distinctions among the JW varieties? he certainly wouldn't be the first guy in history to have done something foolish while trying to impress his girlfriend's father...

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                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                      jfood RE: goodhealthgourmet Dec 15, 2010 03:45 PM

                      Embarassing a boyfriend in front of their girlfriend is not a good move by any stretch of the imagination. And he knew the price as well.

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                      1. re: jfood
                        goodhealthgourmet RE: jfood Dec 15, 2010 04:39 PM

                        i was thinking more along the lines of talking to him in private, but okay.

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                    Raids RE: Smith38 Dec 15, 2010 11:21 AM

                    (1) How did he order? Does the host know? If so, and he said "I'd like a Balvenie" or whatever, then argue it out with the staff directly afterwards.

                    (2) If he ordered specifically, but prices were not included, it's trickier. Is the person an idiot?

                    (a) The person is not an idiot = They knew that the 30 year limited edition Bruichladdich was $70 a glass, or thereabouts. They should be shunned and/or fired.

                    (b) The person is an idiot = The person needs to somehow be made aware of what happened. Is it informal? Try "Oy, Bob, let's say you take me out for a porterhouse to get me back for that scotch sometime, eh?" Or "Well, Charles that muist have been a rather choice vintage, old chap" Obviously, that's going to be pretty gauche in some circles. I'm doing a terrible parody of appropriate lines for different groups, but you get the idea? Because then Bob can try to cover the cost, or argue about what he meant with the staff if there is an error, etc.

                    Or just be nice and don't say anything assuming that he would be humiliated.

                    (3) Prices were on the menu. See 2(a).

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                    1. re: Raids
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                      fryerlover RE: Raids Dec 15, 2010 01:55 PM

                      Can they fire someone where you live for ordering an expensive drink after work at a dinner?

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                      1. re: fryerlover
                        LaLa RE: fryerlover Dec 15, 2010 02:09 PM

                        Well yes if it is a company function or it was on the company card....I see salesmen fired for out of control spending all the time.

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                        1. re: LaLa
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                          fryerlover RE: LaLa Dec 15, 2010 02:35 PM

                          Oh, yes for that, I'd understand.
                          I was thinking more along the lines of the boss is taking out his staff and paying for the staff. The staff are not spending company money as I see it......they are being taken out by their boss.

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                          1. re: fryerlover
                            lynnlato RE: fryerlover Dec 17, 2010 07:08 AM

                            In NC, we have what is known as employees-at-will which very basicly means employees can be terminated for any reason (boss doesn't like their hair color, for instance) so long as the reason is not a violation of their civil rights.

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                          Raids RE: fryerlover Dec 16, 2010 03:44 AM

                          Sorry to give such a lawyer answer, but yes where I live, anyway, because in the states you can fire anyone at any time for any reason, except reasons that have been specifically prohibited, like age, race, sex, ehtnicity, religious orientation, etc., unless there is an employment contract. You can fire someone because you didn't like what they ordered, don't like their tie, whatever.

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                          1. re: Raids
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                            fryerlover RE: Raids Dec 16, 2010 04:30 AM

                            I appreciate your lawyer answer as I am in Canada and am not aware of state labour laws.
                            I'm sure it happens here too, however people can report to Labour Standards. Although I'm not sure how well that works out as luckily I've never had to go that route.

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                            1. re: Raids
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                              ospreycove RE: Raids Dec 16, 2010 04:32 AM

                              For non-union personnel. "Employees work at the convenience of the employer".

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                                Veggo RE: ospreycove Dec 16, 2010 05:22 AM

                                The customary language in an employment contract in an at-will state provides for termination: "for any reason, or no reason at all".
                                Doesn't exactly give one a warm fuzzy.

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                                1. re: Veggo
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                                  ospreycove RE: Veggo Dec 16, 2010 12:09 PM

                                  VEGGO......"AT WILL STATE" THAT IS THE TERM I WAS LOOKING FOR (FOGGY BRAIN)!!!

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                              2. re: Raids
                                lynnlato RE: Raids Dec 17, 2010 07:09 AM

                                Oops, just saw your response. I basicly stated the same above. My bad. ;-)

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                              3. re: fryerlover
                                PeterL RE: fryerlover Dec 17, 2010 12:13 PM

                                For an at will employee, there is no protection against being stupid. However, it would also tell something about the boss if he should do this.

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                              fourunder RE: Smith38 Dec 15, 2010 12:24 PM

                              I give your husband credit for his generosity and self control..... regardless of the price for the drink, unless the employee knew what he was ordering,.......No one is at fault.....including the restaurant and server. This sort of reminds me of the tipping above the automatic gratuity for for large parties thread currently being discussed. .....you can argue all you want about how they should act, but frankly, it's not the responsibility of the restaurant to baby sit the host and party unless specific instructions were made beforehand.

                              Since this incident happened and your husband wishes to avoid a repeat or future occurrence...simply have him take more control of the menu by selecting what is available or, have menus without prices, or instruct specific limitations. e. g., no Veal Chops or Lobster. a entree not to exceed (X) price.....With regards to liquor, request Premium brands only and no Top Shelf brands. Limit the amount of drinks per person during the course of the party and only one after dinner drink not over (y) price. Select the wine choices as well.

                              The house can simply say, "Sorry, that's not available for this party." should a breach of the instructions be made.

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                              1. re: fourunder
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                                cheesecake17 RE: fourunder Dec 15, 2010 02:17 PM

                                I like the line "sorry, that's not available for this party." The host of the dinner would have to do some advance planning though.

                                To Smith 38... you didn't say how many people your husband took out.. but seems like this was a planned event. Perhaps in the future, he can work out a present menu with app, entree, drink, and dessert options with the restaurant. If the $70 liquor isn't on the menu.. it can't be ordered!

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                                jaykayen RE: Smith38 Dec 15, 2010 12:36 PM

                                I would never expect a drink to be $70+. As in, I don't know many bottles of whisky by name that would be $70+ per serving, and even if I did, I would doubt any regular restaurant (out of context with the rest of the meal) would carry such a bottle.

                                Even if it was Johnnie Walker Blue, they restaurant would have been charging you 7x the (pro-rated) retail price!

                                I would first assume that it is a mistake on the restaurant's part. I would have taken it up with the server and asked him to please explain the charge. If the charge was justified (something where the bottle's retail price is over $300) then your husband should deal with it gracefully.

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                                1. re: jaykayen
                                  invinotheresverde RE: jaykayen Dec 15, 2010 01:58 PM

                                  My restaurant has 6 different drinks on our list that cost $65 and over. People order them often. Our entree price is around $30.

                                  I've seen Blue for over $100 per shot.

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                                  1. re: invinotheresverde
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                                    gadfly RE: invinotheresverde Dec 17, 2010 06:28 AM

                                    I'm sure there are plenty of restaurants in that price range charging that much for JW Blue. And I understand, to some extent, the economics that necessitate doing so. But I still always find it to be incredible. That's about a $90 profit on that $100 shot of JW Blue, and a $50 profit on the $70 glass that started this thread. A glass of JW Blue is $30 at my local pub.

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                                    1. re: gadfly
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                                      fourunder RE: gadfly Dec 17, 2010 06:40 AM

                                      Your observations and comments are flawed regarding the prices charged for JWB and the return profit you cite........how could you possibly know this without knowing exactly the size of the pour for any particular restaurant or bar. Not everyone pours a one ounce shot.

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                                      1. re: fourunder
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                                        gadfly RE: fourunder Dec 17, 2010 08:00 AM

                                        Some may deviate from the standard, but a shot is a standard measurement, just like a pint, and it's 1.5oz., not 1oz. A glass is not a standard measurement, so there is plenty of room for error on that one, but a proper glass of Scotch is 3oz. I was also being fairly generous with those profit estimates, as I used the retail price of a bottle, which is not what these restaurants and bars are paying.

                                        But let's pretend that you're right, and I have no way of knowing how much they're pouring. Let's pretend they're pouring twice the proper amount, and the shot is 3oz. and the glass is 6oz. - which would be very reckless, and I'd be shocked to see at an expensive restaurant, as this kind of overpouring is fairly declasse, indicative of a place's working class roots, much like giant portion sizes in food. Even in that extreme scenario, and even again being generous by using retail prices, you're looking at an $80 profit on that $100 shot of JW Blue, and a $30 profit on that $70 glass of JW Blue. In that case, while the shot still has a crazy markup, the glass isn't a bad deal. Then again, a 6oz. glass of Scotch is really not what most people, myself included, are looking for when they order an after dinner drink, so that restaurant should really consider pouring a proper glass and cutting the charge in half.

                                        Like I said, I understand the economics of these markups and am not saying they're unfair. I'm not really sure what you're challenging.

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                                        1. re: gadfly
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                                          fourunder RE: gadfly Dec 17, 2010 08:17 AM

                                          I'm not really sure what you're challenging.
                                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                          A recipe for a drink may call for a certain volume of alcohol to be used....but there is no standard measurement in the real world. Liquor establishments have the prerogative to pour as much, or little, in a glass vessel and charge, or price accordingly, as they wish. Presumably, they know what markup is needed to cover overhead..... be it 400, 700 or 1000 percent. This is not pretending.

                                          BTW.....your example of a pint....... Glass manufacturers make 14oz glass that appear to be pints....or shaker style glasses. Why do you suppose the reason for this is? The owner decides how much liquid is dispensed.....not who perceives what it should be.

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                                          1. re: fourunder
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                                            ospreycove RE: fourunder Dec 17, 2010 08:29 AM

                                            Ahhh, yes forunder, in the U.S. but not in ultra organized Germany a litre is a litre as inscribed on every glass of beer drawn,, it is by law to prevent short pours.

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                                            1. re: ospreycove
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                                              fourunder RE: ospreycove Dec 17, 2010 08:36 AM

                                              Do they sell Mugs in Germany....:0)

                                              I would also disagree with the volume of Scotch as proper.....a litre sounds pretty good to me.

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                                            2. re: fourunder
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                                              gadfly RE: fourunder Dec 17, 2010 08:56 AM

                                              We must live in very different real worlds. The one I've been ordering Scotch in for over 50 years is fairly standard on a glass being in the neighborhood of 3oz. And its pint glasses are fairly standard at 16oz, except in the pubs that British Isles immigrants actually frequent, where 20oz. is the standard. Some restaurants and bars in my real worlds do deviate from this standard. Most do not. Those who do deviate rarely do so by an appreciable amount. A 14oz. glass is only 12.5% smaller than a standard pint. This is a negligible difference if translated to the Scotch examples, as 12.5% of $10 is a whole five shiny quarters. Most establishments are smart enough to know that people like to know what to expect, and this is the reason we've had standards for the whole history of civilization.

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                                              1. re: gadfly
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                                                fourunder RE: gadfly Dec 17, 2010 09:07 AM

                                                I'm curious.....if you say a standard pour is 1.5 ounces, although I would argue it is *typical*, not *standard* .......why is it that in your world, a proper pour of Scotch is 3 ounces?

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                                            3. re: gadfly
                                              alanbarnes RE: gadfly Dec 17, 2010 08:55 AM

                                              >>"a shot is a standard measurement, just like a pint"<<

                                              Right. So there should be no doubt as to quantity. But there is.

                                              Using the pint example, you can walk into one bar and get a 14-ounce "short" pint, go down the street and be served a 16-ounce American pint, then hit the British pub on the next block where they serve 20-ounce Imperial pints.

                                              It would be nice if the world were as neat and precise as you seem to think it is. Real life is a little messier.

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                                              1. re: alanbarnes
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                                                ospreycove RE: alanbarnes Dec 17, 2010 09:01 AM

                                                alan "aber nicht in Deutschland!!!!" A litre at one gasthaus is exactly the same as the one down the street.

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                                      akq RE: Smith38 Dec 15, 2010 01:30 PM

                                      Yikes. I'd give the guy the benefit of the doubt that it was a misunderstanding of some sort. If I were your husband I'd either forget it and tell the restaurant next time to limit the top top shelf drinks, or maybe pull the guy aside and joke around a little bit like "wow - after I saw your $70 whisky, I'm going to have to nix after dinner drinks next year!" Maybe that's too passive aggressive. I'd probably just ignore it.

                                      Did your husband encourage everyone to order whatever they wanted? If so, maybe he needs to rethink how he says it? Or maybe he can just tell the restaurant to check with him about any orders for drinks over some dollar amount? Or just buy a few bottles of wine for the table and not pay for other alcohol?

                                      Did the guy order as much other stuff as the others there? I went to my SO's office Christmas party (a dinner cruise) and everyone there was drinking extremely heavily and drank a minimum of 6 drinks each. Except me. I had two drinks. And the second one was a decent congnac, but I figured that what they spent for my drinks was probably still less than what they spent for any other person's drinks. Was I wrong or order the nicer drink? I feel ok about it. Did everyone else order apps and wine, a lobster and dessert, while this guy had a salad, an iced tea, and a $70 whisky?

                                      Finally - it depends on culture. At my firm, the we drink top shelf liquor and nice wine. At our holiday party in a private room at a local hotel, the bar hadn't stocked decent champagne, port or cognac. The boss sent the hotel staff to the Whole Foods next door (three times) to buy champagne, and others went to the hotel bar to get the good port and cognac and charged it to our firm. It's standard for us, but maybe weird for others. I don't think anyone would bat an eye here at *one* $70 whisky, but probably would object to multiples unless a quorum joined in... :)

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                                        smartie RE: Smith38 Dec 15, 2010 01:43 PM

                                        I think if I was hubby I would call the restaurant and ask for an explanation. Did the waiter order it himself or did the coworker? Was it a mistake and was well scotch at $7?

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                                          Sal Vanilla RE: Smith38 Dec 15, 2010 01:57 PM

                                          Years ago my boss took his staff out after the end of a project. Someone ordered a Remy Martin Lewis XIII cognac. He may or may not have known - we were young, but there were many among us with sophisticated tastes. From that point forward when our boss took us out for celebration or when we were out to dinner together (which was often) he made it a point to admonish and shame through kidding. EVERYONE knew what was up and I guarantee you nobody ever did that to him again. Who wants to piss off the boss?

                                          I do not know how great of a solution that is or what the dynamics are, but it certainly worked and nobody thought less of the boss. Environment: Big consulting firm. Boy's club.

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                                            Harters RE: Smith38 Dec 15, 2010 02:18 PM

                                            As I see it, the OP's husband was the host and, as such, handled the situation exactly how the situation should have been handled. Do nothing to potentially embarass the employee and/or demean himself by raising something that, in the context of the cost of the whole meal and emplyee/employer relations will actually have been a comparitively trivial cost.

                                            Assuming there was not an error in charging (and I am gobsmacked that a whisky can ever cost so much) then the way to avoid in future is to say to employees that the meal and drinks during it on the company but after-dinner drinks are the employees' responsibility.

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                                              observor RE: Smith38 Dec 15, 2010 02:32 PM

                                              I'm sure it was a mistake. I don't think too many people would be so rude, particularly with the boss. I am surprised at how sneaky restaurants can be with putting, or not putting, prices on menus. Many places don't post prices online and I always wondered why drink menus in restaurants sometimes don't have prices. I never heard of someone offering a service and not telling you how much it costs.

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                                              1. Veggo RE: Smith38 Dec 15, 2010 02:44 PM

                                                A little more context would be helpful. Was this a blow-out year end reward to staff for a prosperous business year at a pricey restaurant with $45 entrees and nice wines with dinner? How out of proportion to all else was this scotch?
                                                Pre-retirement, my department heads never would have had the nerve, I would have had to order it for them.

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                                                  AZGrandpa RE: Smith38 Dec 15, 2010 02:50 PM

                                                  And there goes this years bonus, and any hope for a raise next year.

                                                  And if the infidel asks why, tell him it is a lack of judgement

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                                                  1. DuchessNukem RE: Smith38 Dec 15, 2010 03:06 PM

                                                    Yipes. Your husband did handle it appropriately. I do know people who would take advantage of the situation and "order up" but some people would just order their favorite without asking a price.

                                                    Can you tell us the name of the restaurant? -- maybe that can help settle the question of drink price ranges.

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                                                      crazycrazypete RE: Smith38 Dec 15, 2010 08:21 PM

                                                      Perhaps he just requested a "good scotch"? I once asked for a suggested glass of dessert wine to go with my dessert, and without mentioning anything, they brought me a $65 glass. Granted, it was a high end (over $100 a person before liquor) meal but I still thought it was quite out of line, and my fiance and I were more than a bit pissed off about it.

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                                                        Sal Vanilla RE: crazycrazypete Dec 15, 2010 09:38 PM

                                                        That might spur me to consider reflecting that little trick in the server's tip.

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                                                        1. re: Sal Vanilla
                                                          goodhealthgourmet RE: Sal Vanilla Dec 15, 2010 09:42 PM

                                                          what tip?

                                                          i really wonder what goes through a server's head when they pull something like that.

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                                                      2. PeterL RE: Smith38 Dec 15, 2010 10:40 PM

                                                        this should go on "what not to do at an office party", that or getting drunk and insulting your boss' wife.

                                                        Should this happens again? Since your husband didn't put any restriction on what his staff can order, just exactly what he did the last time.

                                                        Now to prevent this from happening again, have the restaurant set up a menu with limited options before hand.

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                                                        1. re: PeterL
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                                                          smartie RE: PeterL Dec 16, 2010 04:00 AM

                                                          Experience is something you get after you needed it!

                                                          I go to a fair few medical dinners. It is not unusual for the rep to say you can order anything from the menu but the lobster and chateaubriand. Frequently the wait staff have been briefed beforehand NO liquors.

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                                                          1. re: PeterL
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                                                            ospreycove RE: PeterL Dec 16, 2010 04:16 AM

                                                            We had an annual review and dinner for most of our employees at a nice, not over the top U.S Resort; During the evening a very nice dinner was served with an "open bar". When I was talking to the associates I noticed a lot of Dom Perignon in ice buckets,(at $350.00/bottle) around the room. I made the comment "Wow, a little sporty with the champagne", and one employee said "What is the difference? You write it off anyway". I then realized that we needed a seminar on the flow of a dollar through our company, and what excessive expenses meant to health of the company and the bonuses we all received. After that the employees were more aware of needless expenses, and it was my fault for not recognizing this "Big Picture" view and to get all involved in expense control.

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                                                            beevod RE: Smith38 Dec 16, 2010 06:16 AM

                                                            Take the cost of the drink out of his salary. Problem solved.

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                                                            1. alanbarnes RE: Smith38 Dec 16, 2010 08:44 AM

                                                              I dunno. Seems to me that somebody who has a "take advantage of the host" attitude is going to display signs of it long before after-dinner drinks are ordered. If this same staff member ordered the foie gras appetizer and the lobster main, I wouldn't just question his motives, but would take it a little further and assume that his apparent lack of judgment and common sense adversely affect his job performance. But a single drink? One data point just isn't enough to draw good inferences.

                                                              Lots of plausible scenarios have been laid out above. The guy could be unsophisticated and trying to compensate by ordering something he saw in a glossy ad in a magazine without realizing it cost 5x as much as what other folks were having. Or he could have ordered "Johnny Walker" and when the server asked "red, black, or blue?" he didn't know the difference and picked "blue" because he was embarrassed to ask. Or the server could have been taking advantage. Or, of course, the guest could have been abusing the OP's hospitality. The key fact here is that we don't know.

                                                              And seriously, we're talking about $70. Yeah, it's a lot for a drink. But it's small potatoes compared to, say, an employee, for an extended period, spends time he should be working hanging out on Chowhound.

                                                              In the host's shoes, I'd say nothing and do nothing in direct response to the gaffe. But I might be a little more sensitive to possible abuses by that employee in the future.

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                                                                jaykayen RE: alanbarnes Dec 16, 2010 12:47 PM

                                                                whooops, time to get back to work.

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                                                              2. meatn3 RE: Smith38 Dec 17, 2010 04:53 AM

                                                                I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. But - I would keep an eye on the person in the future if he is an employee. If this wasn't an error, then it could be a sign of self entitlement, greed or just poor judgement and lack of manners. None of which are qualities I want in an employee.

                                                                Ospreycove (iirc) mentioned the view some have of expense being no problem since it can be written off. This is not an uncommon assumption ...

                                                                Next year a little advanced planning in setting parameters with the restaurant and/or employees would be best.

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                                                                  ladybugthepug RE: Smith38 Dec 17, 2010 10:41 AM

                                                                  I've taken enough people out to dinner for business to know my potential problem clients and employees. If it was an employee of mine I would pull him aside and ask HIM what he wanted to do. I'd give him the option to talk to the restaurant and have them take it off the bill and HE pay for it separately right there. Or take it off the bill, and I pay for it myself separately (with him paying for it later). Either way the whiskey would not be included on the bill.

                                                                  If he made an honest mistake, he'll be more than willing to pay, knowing that he needs to be a bit more knowledgeable about what he orders. If he was trying to pull a fast one, he realizes he got caught and doesn't want to make a bad situation worse by having the boss pay for his bad behavior.

                                                                  I imagine the $70 whiskey story would spread like wildfire through the office, setting an example for future dinners.

                                                                  I'd get in serious trouble with my superiors trying to expense something like that. There's no way that drink ever makes it on the bill.

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                                                                  1. re: ladybugthepug
                                                                    PeterL RE: ladybugthepug Dec 17, 2010 12:16 PM

                                                                    Unless the boss put a limit on what the employee could order, this would show how small minded the boss is. When I treat someone to a dinner, I don't put a limit, and I don't expect my guests to worry about how much I am spending.

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                                                                    1. re: PeterL
                                                                      invinotheresverde RE: PeterL Dec 17, 2010 12:43 PM

                                                                      I totally agree (although I find ordering way out of line with everyone else poor form).

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                                                                  2. boyzoma RE: Smith38 Dec 17, 2010 01:15 PM

                                                                    I went to a holiday party with my DH and his boss. The boss started ordering Silver Oak for all. This is really spendy wine! But - he encouraged us to order as necessary, so needless to say we had a really nice evening. I guess if he wanted us to drink his favorite and was willing to pay for it, I'm game (but that was about 15 years ago). But if he had not offered first, I would NEVER have done something that was otherwise so out of line. I now have a craving once in a while for that, but there is a time and place. And unless prompted by the person paying, I would never order something so "top shelf".

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                                                                      fourunder RE: boyzoma Dec 17, 2010 01:58 PM

                                                                      About 10 years ago I was out @ Monarch Beach playing golf with my brother in Dana Point, @ The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel....but before, while there, we had plans to meet one of his Medical School Classmates & Wife for Brunch. The friends were running late, so I decided to have a Bloody Mary in the downstairs lounge. Roughly 15 minutes later, my brother appears and tells me his friend will be there shortly...since we had more waiting to do, I asked him if he wanted a drink....he said sure and thought about what he was having.....at this time I told the bartender to give him a drink and I walked away to look outside at the garden from the door.....I run into his friend and wife and I bring them into the bar....naturally, I offer the couple a drink. The wife declines....the doctor thinks about it for a moment and then says simply......I'll have what he's having......my brother had ordered a port wine or sherry from what I could tell from the glass in front of him....

                                                                      After some small talk, it was decided to move to the dining room.....my brother gets up and says *You got this*, and i nod in the affirmative. The bill comes and its a whopping $171.00 ! ! !....I shake my head in disbelief and ask the bartender what kind of port he served them.....His reply...*Fonseca*. Although I doubt my dumb ass brother knew really what he was ordering, as he is not a drinker, i have no idea if the bartender asked him if he wanted a one year old or a vintage one....I have no idea if there was even the option of different levels. The breakdown was 15 bucks for the Bloody Mary and 78 bucks each for the Fonseca.

                                                                      I paid the bill and left an appropriate tip....what else was I to do. The thought never entered my mind to raise the issue with a manager. The only thought was to curse out my brother later on the golf course.

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                                                                        Veggo RE: fourunder Dec 17, 2010 02:17 PM

                                                                        Hey, -4, when you're puting on the Ritz, you gotta Pay to Plaaaay. I hope your brother lipped out a few short putts. Back at you.

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                                                                          fourunder RE: Veggo Dec 17, 2010 02:25 PM

                                                                          Unfortunately, my brother will not bet me...and my nickname for him is SWIPE...so he never misses the short ones.

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                                                                          1. re: fourunder
                                                                            Veggo RE: fourunder Dec 17, 2010 02:41 PM

                                                                            You need a better head game. Tell him on the outward 9 you will buy him a veal SHANK for dinner.

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                                                                              fourunder RE: Veggo Dec 17, 2010 03:19 PM

                                                                              Did I forget to mention he reloads and does not know how to count?

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                                                                        2. re: fourunder
                                                                          monku RE: fourunder Dec 17, 2010 04:47 PM

                                                                          Reminds me of a desert golf trip...
                                                                          I was in a generous mood and picked up the tab for the after dinner drinks. Shocked to find out two ports were $100.
                                                                          Maybe it was that Fonseca...this was about 15 years ago.

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                                                                      2. GraydonCarter RE: Smith38 Dec 17, 2010 01:49 PM

                                                                        If you are going to take someone to a nice place, it is impolite to restrict your guests' choices if you are the one who picked the restaurant -- did you tell them they couldn't order the $32 lobster?

                                                                        I generally have a problem with mixing personal life with work life anyway. Why not invite spouses? If someone doesn't have a spouse, can they bring their sister? Their gay partner? I have been to so many of these waste-of-time dinners where you have to smile politely and listen to the boss' bulls!t stories.


                                                                        I say just give everyone a $70 gift card and let them go home early. That to me is a reward.

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                                                                        1. re: GraydonCarter
                                                                          pikawicca RE: GraydonCarter Dec 17, 2010 01:57 PM

                                                                          I couldn't agree more.

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                                                                            BubblyOne RE: GraydonCarter Dec 17, 2010 02:06 PM

                                                                            +1 on that. It's not like you can usually enjoy yourself anyway-if not the boss, there are always gasbags in the group. I'm not that desperate for lobster or expensive booze.
                                                                            This year, I got a Visa gift card-fine with me.

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                                                                              fourunder RE: GraydonCarter Dec 17, 2010 02:10 PM

                                                                              ...I've been invited to, and attended, a few company parties in my day. Also in my past history, I've also worked a few......I can say most definitely some parties are better than others. Sometimes we have to play nice and attend and unfortunately, cannot pick and choose.

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                                                                              1. re: GraydonCarter
                                                                                jfood RE: GraydonCarter Dec 17, 2010 02:44 PM

                                                                                A little harsh and very ungrateful.

                                                                                And why can't the host limit the guest's choices? Impolite? How is picking up the tab as a host impolite? Is going to someone's home and they serve $100/bottle wine when they have vintage in the cellar impolite? Whould you ask for some of the$500/bottle?

                                                                                No good deed goes unpunished.

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                                                                              2. The Chowhound Team RE: Smith38 Dec 17, 2010 04:45 PM

                                                                                We've had to remove a some ad hominem responses from this thread, and the discussion as a whole is increasingly unfriendly. We're going to lock this topic now.

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                                                                                1. deet13 RE: Smith38 Dec 17, 2010 05:25 PM

                                                                                  I try to take my crew out for dinner and drinks about once per quarter, depending on how well we do. Occasionally one of them may order something over the top, but generally they don't.

                                                                                  IMO, it helps to remind them on a weekly basis that by the end of the fiscal year, if I have more money available in our budget, that I can cut them larger holiday bonuses, and hand out better raises.

                                                                                  As a result, the guys opt to go to our local watering hole, and choose to eat and drink on the cheap.

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