A couple of days ago I met up for lunch with my pal Cakes and his wife. We went to a restaurant in the basement of my office building. It was a quick meal, and I paid as a “welcome to NYC” gesture. I felt bad because when they were ordering they shared a dish. I knew from the get-go that I was paying and debated with myself over whether I should tell them right then that I was paying so that they’d order their own dishes. But then I thought that maybe this is what they do, and didn’t say anything.
At the end of the meal the check came, and I grabbed the bill. Cakes grabbed at it too and we had a brief struggle over who would pay. I told them it was my “welcome to NYC” lunch and he said jokingly, “Well why didn’t you say that when we were ordering so we didn’t have to share?”
But that’s not what my story is about. I paid by credit card, and added on the tip and wrote the amount on the restaurant’s copy. I also wrote that same total on MY Receipt copy and put it in my wallet.
Now, I check my credit card bill each and everyday to make sure no one but me is using it. I know to the penny how much of a balance I have on my credit card. The restaurant only this morning put the charge on my card, and it’s for $1.60 more than I wrote on the receipt.
I’ve heard about restaurants doing this – padding the tip after the customer is gone. And I would think that most times they get away with it because most consumers don’t check their Visa bill statements every day and by the time the bill comes the number is close enough that they don’t even think to check.
Think about it – if a waiter adds $1.60 to each credit-card-using customer’s bill in their shift, that can add up to at least $50 by the end of the shift if they work a good crowd (and one definitely works a good crowd at Rockefeller Center). Do that five days a week and voila – you’ve made an extra $250 that week without even trying.
And for that reason I’m of the mind to print out my Visa statement and take it and my receipt downstairs and get my $1.60 back. If only so the waitress we had can’t get away with it. Because there is NO WAY she could have “misread” my numbers – a 4 doesn’t look like a 5.
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