When you go out for dinner do you review the details when the server brings the check or do you assume it is right? Do you do a quick “ballpark glance” or do you look at each Dining Billitem one at a time and do the math?

A few weeks ago I went out for a casual dinner with my parents and partner. Nothing fancy, just a local BYOB italian restaurant that has good food. When the bill came it didn’t seem accurate. So, I took a closer look at it and realized that our server forgot to put one of the entrees on the bill. Not a huge discrepancy – only about $15 considering the type of restaurant, but a significant ommission nonetheless.

For much of the night I was complaining about the server

because I thought he was pretty arrogant and didn’t treat us with a great deal of kindness. He seemed very self-absorbed, uninterested in our experience, and hard to understand with his thick accent. There was a part of me that wanted to just pay the bill as-is and not bring the error to his attention. After a bit of bantering at the table, though, kindness and right action prevailed and we let him know about the error. He seemed very appreciative of the fact or at least as much as his personality would allow.

Having suffered my way through balancing cash drawers as a bank teller and gas station clerk growing up, I am always a sucker for bringing errors to people’s attention. I just wouldn’t feel right knowing someone got docked pay because of an error they made that I could’ve helped resolve. That doesn’t mean I haven’t ever let errors go. Sometimes the clerk or server will be so adamant that it is “right” that I just give up, leave, and figure I tried.

This experience got me to thinking about the accuracy of dining checks in general. Obviously there is a big difference between a local pizza shop and a fine dining experience in terms of details and dollars, but the underlying questions remain.

Do you review your dining check in detail?

Would you bring it to the server’s attention if there were an error (especially if that error was in your favor)?

Would the type of dining establishment, amount of the error, or personality of the server influence your actions?

Would your actions change if the restaurant was gay owned and operated?

Share your experiences and opinions in the comments…