I enjoy dining out. It’s a nice way to connect with friends and enjoy each others’ company, especially since I don’t yet consider myself a connoisseur in the kitchen. I enjoy the social time that is afforded while I wait for my food, the endless supply of Dr. Pepper (I’m pretty caffeinated right now, I went through four of them tonight), and just the overall atmosphere of being away from home and not having to cook. It’s good to get out.
Now I do realize that this isn’t a viable option for everyone. It gets pretty expensive. It gets really expensive when you recently gave up eating wheat and you can only eat half of what’s on the menu. But sometimes it’s just one of those luxuries that some of us consider ourselves blessed enough to be able to afford. And trust me, I do consider the ability a blessing.
Now normally, I don’t get jealous of the way things are done in America. Normally, I am very proud of all things Canadian. I love my country, and have zero desire to become an American… until it’s time to eat dinner at a restaurant. Yesterday, while in Michigan to see a concert, my friends and I ate dinner at Bob Evans in Grand Rapids. I ate a three course meal for 13.50 US. That was soup, a half chicken dinner with a side, and a dessert. For 13.50.
For those who will stick to the ten-year-old adage that their money is worth so much more than ours, I urge you to join us in 2013. That’s 13.61 Canadian. I would have spent more than that on a starter and a drink at Boston Pizza. This has a downside… if I could eat a 3-course dinner for 13.61, I’d eat out probably twice as often, and that wouldn’t be good for me. I get that, but I don’t understand. I don’t understand at all how driving two hours West and across a bridge can chop the cost of eating out in half.
So we arrive at the problem: I spent thirty dollars on dinner tonight. No dessert. No appetizer. Thirty dollars on dinner. And then they charged me 2.00 for a cup of mayonnaise. To me, mayonnaise is a condiment . . . similar in nature to ketchup or vinegar. When I ask for vinegar and ketchup, no one charges me more. When I ask for mayonnaise though, it costs two dollars. Why?
But here’s the bigger problem, and here’s the reason I feel like ranting. Because lots of people charge for mayonnaise, and while that in itself isn’t really wrong . . . it’s stupid, but it isn’t wrong . . . our waiter never told us. When I said “may I have some mayonnaise?” the waiter smiled and said “absolutely!” When our waiter asked my friend if she’d like cactus cut potatoes instead of fries with her meal, and she said sure, he never told her it’d cost her two dollars extra. When we questioned our bills because they were more than they should have been, he said “yeah, sometimes I forget to tell people that there’ll be an extra charge, we can take care of that.”
Sometimes you forget? I’m sorry. No. Not acceptable. That’s your job. Your job is to tell me “yes, but it’ll cost more.” That way, I get to make an informed decision and don’t get confused when I see my bill, because I expected it.
We asked to speak with a manager, who, when asked why they felt they could justify charging 2.00 for mayonnaise when I could smother my entire meal in ketchup without an extra charge, explained that in order to ring it in, they have to add a charge, and they use their own discretion as to whether or not to waive the charge or not.
I’m sorry, your discretion? The manager gets to choose who spends 2.00 extra and who doesn’t?
I think the biggest thing that bothered us both, was wondering how many times we’ve eaten there in the past, and the waiter has “forgotten” to tell us about extra charges added to their already ridiculously overpriced, mediocre food.
So let me tell you this, Boston Pizza. Never again. I haven’t been impressed in the past, and now I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed in waiters and managers who can sneak extra charges onto bills, and I’m disappointed in extremely marked up prices for food that just doesn’t match in quality. It’s not me, it’s you. We’re through.