Diners Charged Dinner Price for Lunch Item

March 12, 2013

in Server Stories

A few years back I stopped into a Mexican place for lunch with a friend – my treat. I had just graduated from college and was on a somewhat tight budget and asked my friend to constrain himself to the lunch menu.

It was 1:30 pm and they stopped serving lunch at 2:30 pm. After about 15 minutes of getting our drinks, my friend and I proceeded to order. I ordered a chicken tortilla dish that I couldn’t quite pronounce. Because I couldn’t pronounce it, I pointed to the menu (the lunch menu on the back) while I ordered. My friend decided to order the exact same thing.

Our food comes and everything seems good. Service was a bit slow, but nothing horrible. Then the bill comes and I notice it’s for a full $10 more than I anticipated. I tracked down the waiter and explained that our lunch meal should have been $6.95, not $11.95 each. He said “You both got the dinner.” I told him that I had not ordered the dinner portion, and in fact had pointed to the lunch menu, during lunch hours. He replied with “Well, you ate a dinner portion.” My friend and I had never ordered that meal before and had no idea the size difference between a lunch and dinner portion, and I had definitely made my lunch preference clear.

I asked to see a manager, and when the manager came they said I would have to pay the full bill. I was livid at this point and told him that I would pay for what I had ordered, not for their mistake. It was only $10, but it was the principle of the matter. Then both the manager and server proceeded to yell at me at the register. I put down $2 less than what our meal SHOULD have cost and walked out, all while they threatened to call the police. I was a server for 4 years in college, and that’s the first and only time I have ever stiffed my waiter or paid less than the bill (and I don’t feel a single regret about it).

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