Another corkage story...

I met last night for dinner with a few dear friends I haven't seen in a long time. We enjoyed a nice meal and the company was fantastic, and when we got to the end of the meal, it appeared as if management had waived our corkage fees on the bill. When I first arrived I had joked with the owner, that since we brought all our own stemware maybe he could waive the corkage. Anyway, we all paid up, the bill was settled, and we were all set to leave, when the waiter came running back and said he had forgotten to put the corkage on and presented us with a second bill for the corkage. Being polite and compliant Canadians, we paid that second bill too without too much hassle. Then I started thinking about this when I got home. How gauche of the restaurant to do this. One would think that the owner would just let the thing go, it certainly would have been classier. If I were a jerk, I'd have said, "well if you'd kindly refund me the gratuity, that'd about cover corkage." But, alas no. I'm just wondering what others might have said or done, assuming that one wanted to return to that restaurant in the future.
Original Post
Did you order any other beverages (additional bottles of wine, cocktails, sparkling water, etc.)? Depending on the cuisine/style, the actual apps/entrees/desserts sold can often be just a break-even proposition for the resto. They make their money on selling beverages or corkage.
quote:
Originally posted by fusionstorm:
Did you order any other beverages (additional bottles of wine, cocktails, sparkling water, etc.)? Depending on the cuisine/style, the actual apps/entrees/desserts sold can often be just a break-even proposition for the resto. They make their money on selling beverages or corkage.


We all ordered cappuccinos at the end, but other than that, no. I was fully expecting to pay the corkage. I've just never been chased down by a waiter to pay for something he forgot to put on the bill. It's not a bad place, but as Red Guy suggests, I won't be in a hurry to go back.
quote:
Originally posted by fusionstorm:
Did you order any other beverages (additional bottles of wine, cocktails, sparkling water, etc.)? Depending on the cuisine/style, the actual apps/entrees/desserts sold can often be just a break-even proposition for the resto. They make their money on selling beverages or corkage.


sorry, but i frequent a lot of restaurants that waive corkage for me, and i'm sure they're making plenty of money.

that's a pretty class-less move IMO. i certainly would've said something.
Hmmmm... a restaurant actually allows corkage and has the audacity to charge for it. Perhaps some of you would prefer a no corkage policy. Frankly, you consented to paying corkage when you brought your wine. Now you want something free.

Maybe the server screwed up and might have to make up the charge. Ever think of that?

When I've had corkage comped, it's certainly a pleasant surprise. It's never an expectation though.
quote:
Originally posted by Gigond Ass:
Hmmmm... a restaurant actually allows corkage and has the audacity to charge for it. Perhaps some of you would prefer a no corkage policy. Frankly, you consented to paying corkage when you brought your wine. Now you want something free.

Maybe the server screwed up and might have to make up the charge. Ever think of that?

When I've had corkage comped, it's certainly a pleasant surprise. It's never an expectation though.


GA, I agree that free corkage should never be an expectation. It's just that we thought they'd been generous to us, but in reality it was a mistake, and the owner could have decided to let it go and let us leave happy and more than grateful for the gesture. I also agree that while the waiter did screw up, I also wouldn't want him punished by having to pay it out of his own pocket. Again, the owner's discretion to forget the whole thing and everyone's happy.

Imagine if my wife were to come home and find a beautiful necklace in a gift box sitting on the kitchen counter. Assuming it's for her, she tries it on and then gives me a huge joyful kiss and embrace. Do I tell her the truth that it's my mom's birthday gift, or do I head out later to buy something else for my mom?
quote:
Originally posted by mitPradikat:
quote:
Originally posted by Gigond Ass:
Hmmmm... a restaurant actually allows corkage and has the audacity to charge for it. Perhaps some of you would prefer a no corkage policy. Frankly, you consented to paying corkage when you brought your wine. Now you want something free.

Maybe the server screwed up and might have to make up the charge. Ever think of that?

When I've had corkage comped, it's certainly a pleasant surprise. It's never an expectation though.


GA, I agree that free corkage should never be an expectation. It's just that we thought they'd been generous to us, but in reality it was a mistake, and the owner could have decided to let it go and let us leave happy and more than grateful for the gesture. I also agree that while the waiter did screw up, I also wouldn't want him punished by having to pay it out of his own pocket. Again, the owner's discretion to forget the whole thing and everyone's happy.

Imagine if my wife were to come home and find a beautiful necklace in a gift box sitting on the kitchen counter. Assuming it's for her, she tries it on and then gives me a huge joyful kiss and embrace. Do I tell her the truth that it's my mom's birthday gift, or do I head out later to buy something else for my mom?
Well if you are in an intimate relationship with the restaurant owner then fine. I'm guessing you aren't schtooping though. In that case, your example isn't even closely relevant to the situation. As for everyone being "happy", you would be happy, and the manager would be unhappy. How is losing revenue in a business a happy situation for the business owner/

You asked for opinions. Mine is that you are upset because you didn't get something for nothing. My opinion is that you should reward an establishment that allows you to bring your own wines and not decide not to go there because you didn't get something for nothing.
I'm pretty much with GA on this. They made a mistake in your favor and caught it just in time. Awkward? Yes. A bit of an emotional roller coaster? Yes. A reason to hold a grudge? No. Just move on.

(And no, I wouldn't lie to my wife just because she made an errant assumption.)
GA, I see what you're saying, and I totally get it. I do appreciate your angle.

However, I think everyone (including yourself, I'm guessing) likes getting something for nothing once in a while and it's well appreciated. In our case we did get something for nothing but then we got billed for it after the fact. It wasn't that they caught it while we were paying the bill. That was done and we practically had our coats on, and they presented us a separate bill. It just left me with a slightly disappointed memory of the evening and as a result I'll not be going back anytime soon. So I did in the end "reward the establishment" but only in the short term. They would have had a much more frequent customer in me if they'd done the more classy thing. I'm far from being a VIP there and I would not have expected corkage to be comp'd the next time.
quote:
Originally posted by Gigond Ass:
Mine is that you are upset because you didn't get something for nothing.


I think he is more pissed that he thought he was getting something for nothing but it ended up not happening.

The way I see it, when corkage wasn't on the bill you simply assumed it was comped. Since no one said it was comped, unless you were trying to be sneaky about it, the "proper" thing to do would have been to inquire about the lack of the charge. The fact that you didn't and it later turned out to be contrary to your assumption somehow pissed you off. That's all.

EDIT: Like your necklace example, if when you went to buy the necklace, the salesperson spent so much time gift wrapping it that they forgot to charge you for it would you think they comped your necklace? Would you just walk out the store with it, knowing they didn't charge you?
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Originally posted by spo:
I wouldn't punish the waiter for the owner or manager's decision/instruction.


I don't understand this. I believe he said the waiter chased them down and that the waiter ("he") forgot to put the charge on. There is every reason to punish the waiter here.
[QUOTE]Originally posted by WEc:
Since no one said it was comped, unless you were trying to be sneaky about it, the "proper" thing to do would have been to inquire about the lack of the charge.
QUOTE]

You're right about checking. Next time I definitely will. No sneakiness here, just an incorrect assumption and we all know what happens when you assume. I've only had corkage comp'd twice previously. In each of those cases, nothing was mentioned when the bill came, so who knows maybe those were mistakes too. However, in those two cases, we weren't presented with a second bill as an afterthought.
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Originally posted by WEc:
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Originally posted by Board-O:
The necklace example is not valid. Nobody gets a necklace comped.


That's an assumption.


A pretty safe one, WEc. At least at retail.

I don't think that mP needed to say anything about the corkage not being on the tab. The fact that he had a discussion (even if lighthearted) with the owner about having it waived makes his assumption that his suggestion was taken quite reasonable.

It does sound like the waiter blew this one, but if he'd forgotten to put one of the meals on the tab and mP had not noticed it when settling up, I can't imagine that there would be a big problem squaring things at the last minute.

As far as "punishing" the server, I'm sure he got an earful from management and was probably embarassed to have to present the second bill. Punishment enough in my mind. If he'd been dinged for the missed corkage charges (let's just assume that it was a couple bottles at $20 per) that would have been a substantial portion of his night's earnings. A pretty stiff price to pay for a simple mistake.

PH
quote:
Originally posted by spo:
I wouldn't punish the waiter for the owner or manager's decision/instruction.


An interesting point. But on the flip side, does that mean that you should not leave any additional tip when the manager has decided not to charge a corkage fee? Why reward the waiter for the owner or manager's decision/instruction?
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Originally posted by PurpleHaze:
quote:
Originally posted by WEc:
quote:
Originally posted by Board-O:
The necklace example is not valid. Nobody gets a necklace comped.


That's an assumption.


A pretty safe one, WEc. At least at retail.

I don't think that mP needed to say anything about the corkage not being on the tab. The fact that he had a discussion (even if lighthearted) with the owner about having it waived makes his assumption that his suggestion was taken quite reasonable.

It does sound like the waiter blew this one, but if he'd forgotten to put one of the meals on the tab and mP had not noticed it when settling up, I can't imagine that there would be a big problem squaring things at the last minute.

As far as "punishing" the server, I'm sure he got an earful from management and was probably embarassed to have to present the second bill. Punishment enough in my mind. If he'd been dinged for the missed corkage charges (let's just assume that it was a couple bottles at $20 per) that would have been a substantial portion of his night's earnings. A pretty stiff price to pay for a simple mistake.

PH


Had you not chimed in, I wouldn't have known I was so wrong in my thinking. Thanks, I appreciate it.
I read my bill entirely when I receive it. I have caught extra charges, missing charges,and missing discounts. Also ask server when soemthing is not on the bill, thus here I would have caught the corkage.

In this case, if having tipped on the 1st bill, I would not have tipped on the 2nd.
quote:
Originally posted by Rothko:
Well, at least the server was trying to get you comped for free corkage. Even though he failed, I probably would have tipped him quite generously.


Of course - besides in KW it is at most 1 degree of separation so we have to take care of our servers and they take care of us
quote:
Originally posted by Rothko:
quote:
Originally posted by spo:
I wouldn't punish the waiter for the owner or manager's decision/instruction.


An interesting point. But on the flip side, does that mean that you should not leave any additional tip when the manager has decided not to charge a corkage fee? Why reward the waiter for the owner or manager's decision/instruction?


Because, in theory, the corkage is supposed to compensate for the smaller bill size due to not purchasing wine from the establishment. Normally, you'd tip on wine purchased there, so you'd also tip on corkage, if not additional for the server handling your wine and stemware. If the establishment comped the corkage, I'd tip even more.
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Originally posted by Stefania Wine:
quote:
Originally posted by mitPradikat:
Being polite and compliant Canadians .


I confess, I stole a cab from a group of Canadians in Bywater two weeks ago. I just knew they wouldn't complain.

I did pay the fare though. Big Grin


At first I thought you had stolen a cabernet, in which case I might have meekly protested.
There was a cab shortage, some sort of shoot out a few blocks away.

The Canadian dudes were next in line but couldn't get organized to get all four in the cab at once. We just jumped in and I paid the fare for the two who got in with us.

I did know they wouldn't protest. Big Grin

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