Posted on June 16, 2013 10 Comments
Running, fishing, and loads of good food. Can a Fathers’ Day weekend get any better? Not in my book.
We did have one problem though, and I wondered what you would have done about it. Some of us kids took my dad to a Brazilian steakhouse in Downer’s Grove for dinner on Saturday to enjoy copious amounts of meat. To give you an idea of the costs, the food was $42 per plate. That gives you unlimited access to a big salad bar, 15 types of meats, and some side items. This was an “expensive” restaurant for our family, but we were all pretty excited to splurge on my dad. Drinks were not included with the price.
As we ordered drinks from the waiter, we were considering getting a bottle of wine. While the waiter was standing there, I asked about three different bottles, all priced under $30. My dad wasn’t sure about the choices I picked (a pinot noir, a malbec, and a French red). He explained to the waiter that he wanted something sweet, and explained that he really loves sangria (which they had on the menu). The waiter said something along the lines of, “I have a sweet red wine that I think you will enjoy. It’s (insert name here).” He was sort of difficult to understand through a thick accent.
I asked, “Is it your house wine?”
He said it was not, the house wine wasn’t sweet.
He never pointed it out his recommendation on the menu, but since he had seen the prices of the bottles I was considering and I asked about the house wine, I just assumed that his suggestion was on the same price point.
The wine came out and I thought it was good. We all had some. We actually left a little on the table because not everyone loved it.
Then the bill came: it was a $126 bottle of wine.
I was shocked.
But I didn’t ask about it because I thought it was my fault for not asking the price. After all, we drank the wine. It was nearly done by the time we got the bill. My family wanted me to ask about the price, but I was insistent that we didn’t because I didn’t want to cause a stink on a special occasion, and also because we consumed the wine, so there didn’t appear to be much the restaurant could do. So we just paid it and left.
Now, after a nice, relaxing weekend, I’m sitting here kicking myself. I should have made sure the waiter charged us for the right bottle. I shouldn’t have been embarrassed to question the bill. Had it been a special craft beer, we would have been very savvy consumers and known the price right away. Unfortunately, we’re not wine connoisseurs. We had no idea whether that bottle retails for $20 or $200 (since it wasn’t one of the wines I normally buy). I should have made the waiter explain why he recommended such a higher-priced wine than a house wine with no warning. I feel totally fleeced by that guy.
In the future I will always ask for the price of a bottle of wine before I buy. I’m thinking of calling the restaurant and asking them what the bottle was so I can make sure they charged us correctly.
So, readers, what would you have done differently in my situation?