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).

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

lilisya March 13, 2013 at 9:14 am

so sorry to hear that! happened to me before at tony roma's but they apologized immediately and charged it back at lunch price.


Sarah March 17, 2013 at 3:09 am

You are a cheap loser.


springs1 March 17, 2013 at 2:23 pm

I have had things happen before like that, but luckily the managers didn't argue with me over it.

That was good that you didn't get stolen from and it was good you stiffed. That was just wrong. It doesn't matter if you ate it, you didn't "ORDER" it.

This is what happened to me and my husband:

First time we set foot in this chain restaurant in like 6 or so years and only had been once before ever. I wanted to try some different margaritas and a dessert, so we went for just drinks and dessert. We ordered 2 margaritas on the drink menu that was on the table standing up like one of those menus that stand up. I ordered one that was $5.95 and my husband ordered one that was $6.95. When we get the check, it's got $9.95 each for both, we were like "It's not $9.95" to our waitress. She was like "Well you ordered the "BIGGER ONES." I was floored that she said that and that it was on the menu what we ordered. I told her "What you are talking about" that it's on the menu and SHOWED IT TO HER EVEN. It's actually also on the food menu too. Well, anyway she didn't say she was sorry even. I even saw her sit at a booth for a while that's how slow it was and we knew the menu *BETTER* than her. She handled it it the most nasty way by saying that. We didn't order "bigger ones", because we didn't know we were getting "BIGGER" ones. We hadn't been there in many years and back when I was there I didn't even order that margarita, I ordered just like a regular one that just said margarita not a specialty drink because back then I didn't drink as much fancy drinks back then because I wasn't even married yet at the time. This was back in 2001 we had gone the first time, but this issue happened I believe in 2007 or so. Well of course we stiffed. I mean no apology even and I couldn't believe that we knew more than her about the drink menu, which we weren't even there an hour even. Turns out they have more than one size, but she certainly NEVER ONCE told us that. She purposely tried to upsell without our consent and got reported as well as stiffed. She deserved it.

It's theft what these servers and what your manager did. If you didn't order it, you certainly have no legal obligation to pay for something you didn't order.


FuckMyTable March 17, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Or maybe it was a honest fucking mistake. Or maybe the computer automatically switches the price to dinner at a certain time. F*** you, Springs1. Everyone is sick of your s***.


springs1 March 18, 2013 at 7:03 pm

"Or maybe it was a honest fucking mistake."

HOW when any decent waiter wouldn't have made someone pay for something they didn't order IDIOT? OBVIOUSLY HE DID IT ON PURPOSE DUMMY, DUHH!


If it was an "HONEST" mistake, he would have not said "Well you ate it", he would have said "Oh, I'm SO SORRY, let me get a manger to fix that for you. He would have even asked the manager to comp at least a coke off the bill for the customer's inconvenience if it was a mistake. He would have NOT made him pay for something he didn't order. YOU KNOW WHAT I AM SAYING IS THE GOD'S TRUTH!

The waiter said: "Well, you ate a dinner portion.” "

So don't you think that's SOOO CRUEL? How would *YOU* like it if you ordered a burger, they brought you ribs, let's say because of time you said you'd take the ribs rather than waiting longer to get your burger. Let's say the server charges you for the ribs, do you think that's "MORALLY RIGHT" when that's ********NOT********* WHAT THE********CUSTOMER ORDERED*********, HUH? So WHAT he ate it, he didn't ************CONSENT********** TO ORDERING RIBS. So why should he have to pay for them?

It's just like the waitress at Red Lobster that charged me 50 cents for bacardi. Here's the story:

My husband and I dined at Red Lobster for lunch on a Friday at 11:00a.m. when they opened. I ordered a pina colada(not altering the menu item at all by saying I wanted bacardi or any other type of certain rum). When we got the bill, it had Pina Colada, the price, then Bacardi and 50 cents for that listed separately each item on the bill. I asked her about it. She claimed that "I had to put something into the computer." I said "I didn't order bacardi though." She said she'd get a manager. She comes back rather quickly(I bet didn't get a manager to fix it, because she'd get in trouble). She came back and said "You would have had to say you wanted the well brand." My jaw almost hit the floor when she said that. I was like, "I SHOWED HER which on the drink menu at the time it had "well brand" listed in the DESCRIPTION on the drink menu that was indeed what I ordered. Plus, you always go by the lower brands unless the customer says they want something more expensive. I have never had to say "Get me your cheapest one" for any drink and I have been drinking over 10yrs going to different bars, restaurants, and nightclubs, never had such a problem.
Anyway, so I asked to see a manager. The manager said that he asked her if I had ordered bacardi and thankfully she told the truth I didn't. It's not 50 cents that bugs me, it's her attitude that she was refusing to fix it like I had done something wrong to not get in trouble by telling her manager. It really bugged me that I had to go through ALL OF THAT for 50 cents. Seriously, she could have just went to her manager and gotten it taken off, but instead kept trying to get out of it.
I got it fixed, got stuff comped. I don't get that it didn't occur to her to act like when SHE is a customer, would she like it if she was billed for something she didn't order or consent to? I also don't get why she didn't ask the bartender how to ring it up or the manager if she didn't know what to do. One person on a tipping forum felt she did it on purpose, but I can't see how when 50 cents more on the check really makes much more for the server for her tip. I really think she was just that stupid and obviously wasn't a customer much in her lifetime. I am assuming she must have not paid anything herself, because if she would, she would have known this. I told her after I talked to the manager "Wouldn't you be mad if someone charged you for something you didn't order?" It seems like she didn't understand that, for real.
It's common sense for example if I order basic cable, but they bill me for HBO, while I might have had it for free, I signed up for basic, so charging more for the premium channel or channels that I may have gotten isn't right. I consented to basic cable, not HBO. Same difference. You don't have to go out to eat EVER to understand this.
Anyway, some people felt like it was a scam. What do you think? I think she just was that stupid and uncaring that she didn't have much customer experience.

Continued next posts:


springs1 March 18, 2013 at 7:03 pm

FuckMyTable – Continued:

This is what a person called "Teleburst" said on a message forum about it since he was a waiter:

"We are all trained constantly to upsell, upsell, upsell. Build the check. She took a short cut (which is wrong). She probably did it plenty of times but nobody noticed (remember, 80% of the guests don't even look at their tickets, right?) Sadly, there are servers who wouldn't think twice about doing this (as long as they're not caught, right). Of course, they're not directly getting the extra .50 from you – but they get the extra tip that the extra money generates. Do it 5 times a day, and you've made an extra hundred bucks a year (plus, you've upped your check average, which is very important for your standing with the management) . Fortunately it doesn't happen all that much that I'm aware of. But I have no doubt that it happened to you here." I feel for that amount that she would have made extra on the tip is too minimal to do. If our bill was $25, let's say 20% tip, that is $5. If we were the type to tip exactly the amount(we usually round), $25.50(not counting taxes) x 20% = $5.10. With people rounding up or down on tips, she wouldn't have gotten more than $5 if I was going to tip her 20% anyways. Also, 10 cents, is that really worth risking a lowered or non-existant tip? OF COURSE it was deliberate. She made a conscious choice to take the extra step of ringing in a call brand instead of the well. It's called "building a check". It's what we're taught to do. However, what we AREN'T taught to do is do it without agreement from the guest. .50 5 times a night for a week is an extra $10 that you get tipped on. The thing is, to upsell means convincing the guest to make the choice, not making the choice for them. You do that by asking the guest if they want Grey Goose or Absolut, etc. Many guests don't specify and if you didn't ask, you'd miss the 95% of people who will choose a better brand, if you only ask."

What do you think? Do you think she KNEW what she was really doing that she was TRYING to upsell to make more tips or do you think she was just that stupid trying to get out of that she messed up? I think she was just that stupid, but it very well could have been done deliberately because of what Teleburst says. I don't know, what you think?

It is VERY POSSIBLE in this situation she did try to upsell me on purpose without my consent to get a bigger tip as well as the Chevy's Fresh Mex story I told in the above post as well as the OP 'S story even more so.

Do you think that's "MORALLY RIGHT" to charge me for something I didn't order? Come on now, you are a customer at some point, right? BE HONEST NOW?

Continued next posts:


springs1 March 18, 2013 at 7:04 pm

FuckMyTable – Continued:

"Or maybe the computer automatically switches the price to dinner at a certain time."

UH, YOU ARE DUMB AS A ROCK. If you can't tell the difference between $6.95 and $11.95, then you are STUPID to still GIVE THIS TO THE CUSTOMER ANYWAY WITHOUT GETTING YOUR MANAGER TO FIX IT ******************************************BEFORE*******************************************YOU GIVE THE CUSTOMER THEIR CHECK IDIOT! You don't know how to serve the check. YOU ARE IN CHARGE OF THE NUMBERS ON THE CHECK BEING CORRECT, NOT THE CUSTOMER! I don't care if there is a time that a computer changes a price, as a customer you sure don't ORDER from the computer, so that price means NOTHING and it is VERY ILLEGAL to charge someone something without their consent, that's called FALSE ADVERTISING. When you print the check, you can notice, OK this price $11.95, OK, I will go to the manager instead of giving the check to the customer like this, DUHHH!!

"F*** you, Springs1."


"Everyone is sick of your s***. "

What s***? That it's not the customer's job to compare the prices to the check since they aren't getting a tip for that and the server is. That the customer knows the prices better than the server does which is ridiculous.



Once, my husband ordered a burger at Applebee's, which another server brought out ribs, turns out our waitress put in the order wrong. My husband ended up not keeping the ribs and of course they voided the ribs off the check. Even if he would have kept it, you can't legally charge someone for something they didn't *CONSENT* to.


It's my server's job to catch the wrong prices, because they are getting *******PAID A TIP********* TO************SERVE*********** THE CHECK CORRECTLY. ALL THE PARTS AND PIECES OF THE CHECK. I don't care if you can't change the price, you sure can get a manager to take off the amount that's overcharged and you know it. That's up to *YOU* to notice it since the *TIP* is what is *PAYING* for you to *CARE* about someone else's money besides your own.


It was NO MISTAKE that *ANY* of these servers did these things. They all were intentional. The one at Red Lobster KNEW I didn't order bacardi, but either did it on purpose to upsell me or was too lazy to go to find out how to ring it up or was just that stupid. The Chevy's Fresh Mex waitress didn't even *TRY* to compare the drink menu prices to the check and she said "You got the bigger ones" to our faces as if we ordered them. F*** THAT, SHE STOLE ON PURPOSE. You don't tell someone well you still consumed it, SO WHAT if you didn't *****************ACTUALLY ORDER************ IT!

How would *YOU* like being charged for things you didn't consent to such as they put on our cell bill some months back some service we didn't consent to. We got it taken off. NOBODY wants to pay for something they didn't order. JUST ADMIT THAT I AM RIGHT AND YOU ARE 100% IN THE WRONG!

In the OP's case, YES he was charged on PURPOSE by telling the customer "Well you ate the dinner." I mean WOW, HOW RUDE and VERY MEAN.

It would be just like if they charged us for Showtime if we didn't have it just because we ended up being hooked up from *THEIR* mistake when they went to hook up the cable. Do you think that it would be right to charge you for something you didn't consent to? BE HONEST NOW!

You are only sick of my s***, because you are just like a lot of servers, LAZY, SELFISH, AND UNCARING. You don't want to check the prices, because it's not your money and you are too lazy to do so. *YOU* as the server are in charge of every aspect of what the check has. If the computer has a wrong price, that's on *YOU* to notice it *BEFORE* you "SERVE" me the check. You can ********READ**********, CAN'T YOU? If you make us babysit you, you should at least APOLOGIZE instead of doing what that waiter did to the OP by being rude by saying "Well you ate the dinner." HOW MEAN. So the server wanted a tip? GET REAL, thats' RUDE, how can you expect a tip when you are MEAN about a problem? It was NO MISTAKE, this was INTENTIONAL UPSELLING in ALL THESE CASES I TRULY FEEL. Teleburst I think could be right.


springs1 March 18, 2013 at 7:14 pm

"Or maybe the computer automatically switches the price to dinner at a certain time."

One more thing, the computer prices aren't where we *ORDER* from, so those prices don't matter. It matters what the prices on the menu are that we *ORDERED* from are. THAT IS THE LEGAL *ADVERTISED* PRICES are ON THE MENU! It would be just like going to a store, the price on the shelf is $5.99, you go to the register it rings up $7.99. You tell the cashier it's $5.99. The difference in a store is that you'd have to go to the physical shelf to find out which that would take a very long time unlike comparing the menu to the check which could take anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes to check depending on how many items are on the check, which at a store, it could take a long time to walk to each aisle to find out the prices. Also, these people aren't getting paid for any services, but even if they were, with cashiers I wouldn't hold them responsible at a store since it would take let's say a basket full of groceries an hour to find all the prices. It doesn't take but a minute or so to check the prices against the menu and servers get paid for their services unlike cashiers. Now if the fast food cashiers like McDonald's would be paid a tip, yes I would expect them compare the prices on the computer to the prices on the menu wall because we'd be paying for the service, but since we aren't, I don't expect that there. I have been overcharged once at Taco Bell 40 cents(20 cents per burrito), a $1.00 at Long John Silver's, and KFC 10 cents. I bet you don't check what people charge you because you are too lazy, huh?

It doesn't matter if the prices switch in the computer. We as customers don't see what's on the computer for that to matter. We see the check and *THAT* has to have the correct numbers on it. You can tell the difference between a "6" and an "11" right? A 6yr old can too, so WHY can't you and that waiter, huh? You notice it's a wrong price and you get your manager to fix it *BEFORE* instead of *AFTER* we get our check, because that's your job as a server to *SERVE* things correctly as far as what you can control, which you can control doing this *BEFORE* we get our check. THAT IS THE GOD'S TRUTH AND YOU KNOW IT!!


Jodi March 20, 2013 at 12:55 pm



t.bear April 1, 2013 at 11:21 am



TheGrimGenius April 20, 2013 at 1:09 am

You remind me of Annie from Stephen King's Misery, obsessive and a big mouth.


Jennifer Fogarty May 15, 2013 at 12:58 am

Drink some chamomile tea! Drink a shot! -No I take that back, no booze for you- Take a pill, something!! Pronto! Calm down woman!You get So worked up you're going to give yourself a heart attack. These are people you don't ever have to interact with again in your life. Let it go and chalk them up to being idiots. Idiots are EVERYWHERE. You'll need to handle them better than you have here!


The Bride June 6, 2013 at 6:22 am

Dude, you've pissed iSprings1 off now. You have enabled the CAPS LOCK FROM HELL. Offer it a bucket of ranch quickly and you may come out of this alive.


Philly Aidan Mahurin March 19, 2013 at 2:16 am

wow…. I just… wow…


Serenity March 20, 2013 at 1:19 am

It's ok, Philly. Sorings is just off her meds again…and apparently found the one server blog she's not banned from…yet.


The Bride March 20, 2013 at 3:15 am

Don't get her started on mozzarella sticks and the fucking marinara sauce.


springs1 March 20, 2013 at 8:30 pm

The Bride
"Don't get her started on mozzarella sticks and the fucking marinara sauce."

Why not? If the *MENU* has it already comes with marinara no need to repeat the order to my server if I haven't said I didn't want the marinara in some form or manner.


The Bride June 6, 2013 at 6:31 am

Sweet Jesus, I have personally been answered to by Springs1. I had this on my bucket list. I weep with joy. I've been taunting her for years and NOW I HAVE A REPLY. You all have no idea how well I will sleep tonight, one of my dreams has come true. Bless you Springs1, your ranch dressing obsession, your mozzarella sticks and your weird fucking obsession with napkin and water arrival. I think I may actually love you.


Enteresante March 20, 2013 at 4:40 am

Wow, what a nutter. What an adventure this person must have when eating out! Every journey to a restaurant/Fast food chain is transmuted into "Ride of the Valkyrie"!


springs1 March 20, 2013 at 8:29 pm

"Wow, what a nutter. "

So it's "NUTS" to realize you have been overcharged, huh?? WTF??? YOU ARE NUTS if you don't read your bill for every cent to be right, because MANY owners will overcharge on purpose. I had one that did it 5 times in a row because he didn't want to tell corporate to change it in the computer system nor did he want to train or let his servers and bartenders know about the issue. A dollar 4 times and $1.50 another time on prices that were wrong.


Belle March 24, 2013 at 7:04 pm

No, but it's nuts when you rant about it day after day and resort to name calling. I know you're upset, but screaming at other posters at this site solves nothing and makes you look unhinged. Is that the impression you're wanting to give?


Jennifer Fogarty May 15, 2013 at 1:00 am

You're kinda scary! You're rant and rave for eons!!! Is this how you handle everything you don't like?


Thesauce March 21, 2013 at 12:03 am

No springs1, it's only "NUTS" when you open and run…and run… your mouth!


Mike March 21, 2013 at 3:12 pm

I had heard of this springs1 person from reading fuck my table (which i loved..). I have to say, she's even more fucked up than I imagined.

I would recommend you never, ever, go out to eat again. I fear for your health and your sanity. Someday, springs1, they will find you slumped over your keyboard, the victim of a stroke, applebee's check still clutched in your furious, pudgy fingers.


Background: 10+ years slinging plates, last 3 in fine dining and private catering.


Mike March 21, 2013 at 3:19 pm

and no, springs1, I'm not calling you fat. I just imagine you have fingers as thick as a double-battered mozerella stick.


mrsjamiecbaker March 22, 2013 at 9:21 am

Don't feed the trolls 🙂

In regards to the original post, I've had this happen to me and had it happen to my tables when our systems automatically switch over to reflect different prices. I caught the error all but one time and it was a quick fix with the manager. That said, I did work with people who would purposely ring in salad bars late so it created an auto-upcharge to a dinner bar in order to hopefully fool the customer and up their tip. Your experience sounds like you were dealing with shady people. Thankfully, this isn't something that happens too often 🙂


Jason March 24, 2013 at 1:20 am

You are cheap.


Amber May 9, 2016 at 5:00 pm

You paid less then your bill should have been. Rude and entitled you are, I understand not wanting to pay the full price when you wanted the lunch price during lunch hours, you specified by pointing to the lunch menu, it was their mistake and you should only pay what the lunch bill would have been. But that means you pay what you owed not stiff them less then you owe, that is theft.


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