Rip-off at a famous restaurant

Yesterday I went to a famous restaurant in my home town. It wasn’t very expensive – and in any case I chose to afford their prices. So, what’s the fuss this time – you’re probably wondering.

That’s one wine glass with wine in it at extreme left (though you see two glasses – it’s a composite picture).

I ordered a 175ml glass of their house wine at £4.90. When I’m served the wine in the glass, I immediately think, “Hmmm.. that doesn’t look like 175ml.” Yes – the Cap is a wine connoisseur, but no such expertise required to notice something.

I look around and see other tables with almost the same volume of wine being served in glasses. But those glasses contained Rose (not Red). About a minute later I spot a glass of red, being served and I could see 20 feet away that it contained more wine than was in my glass. Yes – I’ve been told that I have the ‘eye of the eagle’.

I politely summon the waiter over and make my concern known. His response, “It’s correct, I saw him (the bartender) pour the wine myself”. I say no more but methinks,  “So what?” i.e. seeing someone pouring wine is no real guarantee that they’ve poured the correct volume of wine. I’m still not satisfied.

A few seconds later I head over with my glass of wine to the bar and make my concern known. Two people behind the bar look at me as if I’m from Planet Zog. Little do they know that I’m actually from Zog. The bartender insists that he’s poured 175ml of wine in the glass and that what he’s seeing in it was 175ml. So I suggest that he shows me the 175ml measure and pour 175ml of water into another identical glass. Bingo! The volume of water exceeds that in my wine glass.

Well – that’s not the end of it. What do the humans do when they caught out? They end up in disbelief – ‘tis an elementary thing called Cognitive Dissonance [- remember Google is your friend] and try to find something that justifies their original position. No – this is not ‘denial’, you fledgling psychobabbler. So – Mr Bartender decides to check his other measure (yes a second measure) and another glass with water. Bingo – again! That measure of water matches the volume in my glass. If you’re lost, tough! What this means is exactly as I thought i.e. that I’d been served 125ml of wine when I paid for 175ml. By this time the said waiter had arrived to see all this. Ooops.. so they top me up, tucking their tails between their legs; looking like embarrassed idiots (See the fuller looking glass). Don’t even start – I could afford to buy all the wine in the whole restaurant for the whole day. I don’t need to sip 50 ml out of a glass to get one up, so bugger off!! [Now you know why I don’t encourage comments on my blog. I know what to expect of idiots.]

But what’s the point of this blog? It’s not just about my superior my powers of observation to spot a 50ml deficit in a glass of wine. This is about Rip of Britain. This is about people serving you incorrectly, you not getting your money’s worth – and …and .. the most important factor: a bunch of idiots of consumers who are either, blind, stupid, unassertive, culturally programmed not to risk embarrassment, who console themselves by saying “life’s too short.” Why am I so scathing? Is it just an error? No! At the simplest level it is. At another level it is poor training and quality control, that leads thousands of blind, dumb and unassertive people to get ripped off everyday. I don’t have the hard evidence, but the evidence of my experience is that big business is all to willing to pass this off as ‘an unfortunate error’. And stupid customers are willing to rationalise it as such too.

Well – if I was running a fancy and famous restaurant – and my people made such stupid errors four things initially would happen:

  1. Firstly the customer would be offered the wine on the house (i.e. no charge) – and given their wine as requested.
  2. The service person (waiter or waitress) would be given a ticking off.
  3. The person at the bar would be given a ticking off.
  4. The manager of the above ‘shop floor personnel’ would be told that s/he is at risk of a sacking if it happens again.

Why the above? Because I’m brutal on performance and delivery of quality.  Hey ho – if you like being ripped off and not making a fuss, that’s absolutely fine by me.

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