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You’re charging me for that?...Really?

Recently while on a winter visit to Palm Beach we decided to try a local restaurant. It is a Palm Beach outpost of a well known Miami chef, fried chicken enthusiast and occasional Top Chef judge. When I made the reservation I was asked if it was a special occasion. I told them it was my SO’s birthday, but made no special requests of any kind.

The meal was excellent. Service exceptional. Shortly after the dessert arrived so did a plate with two sad looking store bought mini red-velvet cupcakes. The kind of things you find at bad office parties. And they were stale. It was a total contrast with the quality our evening. But thought them cute appreciated the gesture. It was fun.

However when the check arrived the birthday cup cakes went from cute to pathetic. Much to my dismay this stale offering, which was not requested, appeared on the bill. It wasn’t a huge amount. I couldn’t be bothered talking to the manager it would have been a waste of time after a nice evening. But it did leave us feeling that place was incredibly cheep. Perhaps even taking advantage of customers.

I’ve never encountered anything like this before. Has anyone else?

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  1. It irritates me when waitstaff offers a drink to compensate for having to wait (either for a reservation or a meandering course) and charges for it.

    In this case, particularly since you bought dessert, it is incredibly cheap to charge for a cupcake you did not order. It is well worth bringing up to the manager. You don't need to make a scene at the restaurant. A call after the fact will suffice.

    1. Have never been treated like this. No way would I have paid for it.
      And had I bought dessert in addition to this, that fact would be irrelevant.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Leonardo

        I'm with Leonardo on this one. You were under NO obligation to pay for something you didn't order. I would have called the manager on it before the bill was paid and had it removed. You may have been mistakenly charged for it in which case they would have taken it off the bill. If it wasn't in error then they thought they could get away with it. Apparently they were right.

      2. I have never heard of such a thing. Completely tacky, IMO, especially considering that you were specifically asked to volunteer information that it doesn't sound like you'd thought about giving them, and they used that info. to increase your ticket without confirming with you that you wanted that type of special treatment in the first place.
        I am glad though, that the first part of the evening was pleasant and that the food was good, so it wasn't a total bust. : )

        1. My knee-jerk reaction would be to say, no way would I pay for the cup cakes but I can visualize a very nice celebratory dinner and then the bill comes. What to do about a couple of dollars? Make a stink? This often leaves an even worse taste in ones mouth than having been charged to begin with. Then there the birthday person who thought this was a cute gesture but certainly not cute enough to spend a couple of bucks on? You're in a no-win situation (especially if it wasn't a huge amount).. I would have done the same as you but I would definitely have followed up the next day asking the ever popular question WTF?

          1. I'm weighing in early on this thread when there are still only four replies. Your experience validates my own reticence to reveal that it is a special occasion when I eat out. They did ask though. Hmm. Sounds like a racket to me, or do restaurants usually ask these days?
            Complaining never seems to work for me withnail so I think you did the right thing by paying and not saying anything although I'm in the minority so far. In my experience complaining is like scratching a mosquito bite, it only seems to inflame and make the annoyance bigger and longer lasting. Sorry that happened to you. Once my mom was give a nice bottle of perfume as a gift and later charged for it. She was an easy-going lady but being jerked around that way made her furious. No one likes being duped.

            4 Replies
            1. re: givemecarbs

              Very recently I made reservations at a more expensive chain restaurant for a birthday dinner - they asked if it were for a celebration; I did not volunteer the information. We were greated by small sparklies on the table, a menu with a named happy birthday salut to the lucky person (so subtle I nearly missed it), and a large selection from their desserts after dinner, all artfully displayed and personalized.

              Thankfully no song.

              Lovely

              And no charge - Because I did not ask for it . . . It was a gift the restaurant choose to give us and it created much, much goodwill. And most likely more repeat business.

              Sounds like your experience created the opposite effect.

              1. re: alwayscooking

                Geez - if I'm going to say something nice about a place I suppose I should name it. Roy's in Tampa did the bday grand. Thanks!

                1. re: alwayscooking

                  Awww! My boyfriend and I had an anniversary dinner at our Roy's and they went all out for us, though we did giggle that the poem in the menu mentioned our marriage. :) Too bad they closed that location down.

                  1. re: alwayscooking

                    I know there are a lot of people who aren't fans of OSI, but they do seem to have a corporate culture that encourages their individual restaurant managers to be very pro-good customer care, and a number of their managers do seem to embrace the concept.