Checking the Check
by Sophie Gayot
When we go out to restaurants or bars for a meal or a drink, the bill always comes at the end. The truth is that most of us don’t check the check in detail. We usually just give it a quick glance as we reach for our cash or credit cards because we don’t want to look stingy in front of our friends, family, dates, business partners or associates.
A few weeks ago, when I asked for my check at a very à la mode bar in Paris, the waiter announced a bill of € 34 (about $45) for the two non-alcoholic drinks we had and ran the card through his credit card machine. I started thinking out loud to my friend, “Well, €34 for a Diet Coke and a fresh fruit drink without alcohol, that is quite expensive. This place is VERY trendy, and has been for many years, but come on!” A few minutes later, I asked the waiter to give me the receipt with the details of what we were being charged (not the credit card receipt, which I already had, but the actual bill). He returned with it and €9 saying, “Sorry, we made a mistake, here are €9,” and handed me the money (about $12). Good, I thought, I got more miles on my credit card and pocket change to boot! I am pretty sure it would not have happened if I hadn’t asked for the bill.
In the future, don’t be scared to ask and verify. Please tell us about your similar experiences, which can only happen if you check. You can see the two receipts, but we’ve removed the name of the establishment to protect the guilty!
For more tips on how to save money, check out the GAYOT Economic Stimulus Plan.