My wife and I recently spent a day in San Francisco. When we stopped for lunch at Pier 39 we knew we’d pay for the touristy location, but were not prepared for the magnitude of what we ran into at an Italian restaurant on the water.
We were one of the first couples there for lunch and had a table with an excellent view. Unfortunately, that was the best part of the meal.
After our waiter took our order (calamari and ravioli, no drinks) he casually asked if we’d like garlic bread to start. His demeanor implied that this was free, and, of course, it wasn’t, adding 13% to the pre-tax cost of the lunch. In reading on-line comments later we found this is a common scam for the establishment. The bread itself was chewy and dry, and our entrees were nothing to write home about.
When he brought us our bill it had “Suggested Tip Calulations (sic)” of 15%, 18%, and 20% on it. I looked at it and saw that the percentages were based on an amount nearly $10 higher than our actual after tax bill, giving his tip a significant uplift had we blindly used the figures. I gave him 15% of the before tax total and tried to find a manager to ask about the discrepancy, but the waiter intercepted us and hustled us out of the dining area. His uncomfortable demeanor convinced us that the discrepancy was not an accident.
In hindsight I should have tipped him nothing, but live and learn. I’m still trying to get a response from the restaurant via e-mail and phone just for the satisfaction. When you are a tourist beware of those who treat you with this much contempt.