Is This the Sneakiest Waitress Ever or an Honest Mistake?

Shifty bitch

Very often, this blog is criticized for being “too negative” or “always on the server’s side.” Well, not today because I got wind of a shifty server trying to pull some wool over the eyes of her customer and it makes my blood boil.

According to Bamboozled, a man named Joe Lentini went to a business dinner at Bobby Flay Steak at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City. La di da, la di da, everything was fine and dandy for this party of 10 until Joe decided to share a bottle of wine with a couple of his friends. He told the waitress he didn’t know a lot about wine and so he asked her to suggest a bottle. She pointed to Screaming Eagle Cabernet, Oakville 2011 and when he asked her much it was she told him it was “thirty-seven fifty.” He agreed to the wine, the sommelier presented it, he tasted it, approved it and went on with his meal. When the check came, he had to pick his face up off the floor because the bottle was $3,750 and not $37.50.

All together now: awwww, hell no!

He disputed the way the wine had been sold to him and the restaurant was ever so fucking kind enough to lower the cost of the bottle to $2,200. I never have wine that comes out of something other than a cardboard box, a screw-capped bottle or was leftover in a customer’s glass, so $3,750 wine must taste much better than the ass I am used to. I looked up Screaming Eagle on the Internet and found it for $1,498. It is described as a “sexy, upfront, precociously styled wine exhibiting a dense ruby/purple color as well as lots of licorice, camphor, black currant jam, new oak and spice box characteristics.” Ummm, okay, but does it do my laundry and give back massages because at that price, it needs to. Joe paid the bill with his friends and then probably went home crying and refused to pee for five days to make sure he kept the wine with him for as long as possible.

This guy got cork-screwed.  (David Gard/for NJ Advance Media)

This guy got cork-screwed. (David Gard/for NJ Advance Media)

Now let’s get to the server and the way the restaurant handled it. We all know this waitress was trying to be a sneaky bitch. If someone tells you that they don’t know anything about wine, why in the fuck would you offer them one of the most expensive bottles on the menu? I’ll tell you why: she wanted a bigger tip, that’s why. And when he asked her how much it cost, we all know that she said “thirty-seven fifty” to imply that it was under $50. It’s wrong, wrong, wrong. It’s worse than when the server tries to make you feel like an unsophisticated slob because you refuse the bottled water and settle for “just tap.” Of course the restaurant feels that “the proper practices were followed” and they say that because they very often serve bottles of wine at this price, they didn’t see anything different with this particular transaction. But it was different, Borgata, it was. This particular diner freely admitted he knew nothing about wine and was lead to believe that the bottle he ordered was 100 times less than it was. Had she told him that bottle cost $3,750, he would have dropped that menu and asked for a refill on his tap water. You really think the waitress didn’t know what she was doing? I call total bullshit.

I have a feeling that once this story makes the rounds, Bobby Flay will crawl out from behind his grill, step over a basket of poblano peppers and offer to reimburse the man for the “misunderstanding.” We know that he can certainly afford to do that and it would only make this public relations nightmare fade away. (I hope you will share this so we can see if we can make that happen.)

But what about the waitress? I think she intentionally inflated this check all for the sake of a tip. I can’t believe I am saying this, but she needs to be held partially responsible; if not monetarily, then at least fucking own up to it. Tell us your rent was due and you thought you could get some extra bucks by taking advantage of Average Joe Lentini. Tell us that you truly believed a man who was ordering a $45 rib eye was cool with drinking a $3,750 bottle of wine. Tell us you are a dishonest lying piece of shit who makes servers look bad. Just don’t tell us you thought you were doing the right thing, because anyone who has waited tables for for more than ten minutes knows the truth: you’re shifty.

As usual, this is just my opinion and if you don’t like it, there are plenty of other places to waste your time on the Internet.

 

97 thoughts on “Is This the Sneakiest Waitress Ever or an Honest Mistake?

  1. David

    You are completely wrong. There probably isbtvs bottle of wine on that list cheaper than $40. Buyer beware. It’s 10 people in a fine dining establishment for a business dinner. Only the biggest of idiots and the worst host of a business dinner ever would order s bottle under $40. As far as finding the bottle online for $1,500… Well unless you are a moron, you should realize that everything in a restaurant is marked up. 1 single grey goose martini in that place costs as much as a whole bottle in a liquor store. To call that waitress a “bitch that wanted a bigger tip” is just foolish and makes you look like an asshoke. No shit she wanted a bigger tip!! That’s her job to sell wine like that, and it’s the host’s job make sure his guests enjoy a great dinner on his dime. If you go a car lot, and the salesman shows you a brand spankin’ new corvette, and he says “It’s fifty.” You should be that big of an idiot to think it’s only $50, and you don’t need to be an editor of Motor Trend to figure that out. Whoever wrote this article is a moron and a jerk.

    Reply
    1. The Bitchy Waiter Post author

      No shit, David. I know that liquor is marked up in a restaurant. And no one is going to misunderstand that a car is $50 because there is no such thing as a car for $50. If there are bottles of wine on the menu at this restaurant that are about $50, it would not be crazy for him to assume that she meant $37.50. I stand behind my post and feel that she 100% knew what she was doing. Yes, her aim is to make money for the restaurant and for herself, but that was dishonest and you know it. By the way, I’m accustomed to people thinking I’m an asshole, so I’m fine with that.

      Reply
      1. Jess

        I totally agree with you Bitchy Waiter. What she did was wrong. I would never explain it like that. I hope Bobby Flay does find out and makes the sneaky bitch cover the cost!

        Reply
        1. Bartender

          I work for Bobby Flay. There is so much effed up stuff that happens in our restaurant, you would be amazed. Part of the problem is that the corporate office ignores issues until they get really bad, and their solution is just to fire people instead of trying to find the root of the issue. I’ve worked in food and bev for a long time, and the restaurant I work in, is one of the worst managed places I have ever worked. If anything gets a response out of Bobby, I’d hope a gigantic fuck up like this would.

          Reply
      2. Austen

        I only work at ihop but in my opinion if the don’t know anything about wine offer three options the first is a lower end wine (because he wants to get a bottle hes trying to show off)explain the wine briefly then move to bottle number two this is your middle end bottle the one you want him to pick because he will feel like your on his side then there is the high end that would be the 3750 and tell him its pricy so that way you don’t con him and make him not tip plus if i’m right even if he picks a $50 bottle and the meal is $100 and he is a dick and leaves 10% it is still $15 and he leaves happy and you are happy for getting a tip

        Reply
        1. Get a clue

          Austen, in what world, other than ihop would anyone be happy for getting a $15 tip?? Or a 10% tip for that matter????? But, you are on the right track with the price points. I generally ask my guests at what price point they would like to be and then suggest accordingly, starting at the lower end and giving them at least 2 options. You never want your guests to feel like they are being taken advantage of.

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      3. ashley

        I don’t understand how David could compare the price of a car to a bottle of wine. The customer claimed he knew nothing of wine, so why would he think the “thirty-seven fifty” was $3,750. When you are saying a car is worth $50, generally everyone would assume that is was $50gs, not $50. So that comparison was just as idiotic as your entire stupid post. I get that maybe he should have clarified, but again he knew nothing about wine so why would he even begin to think the bottle of wine cost $3,750. In my own opinion, consequences should be brought against the server, up to and including termination. She knew EXACTLY what she was doing, and shame on the restaurant for defending her and not correcting HER mistake.

        Reply
        1. Will McNeill

          I don’t fault the restaurant for backing the server. I will never work for another owner that doesn’t back his employees. That being said, the server and restaurant were definitely wrong.

          Reply
      4. MelyMel

        The Bitchy Waiter rides again! Absolutely on point. We have enough to combat without adding unscrupulous to the things we need to defend ourselves against.

        Reply
      5. Meghan

        To buy a bottle of wine over a certain cost in any restaurant it needs to go through a manager. In this particular case the man was asked on 3 occasions whether or not he was sure he wanted the wine he had chosen. He also had to sign for it in the beginning. In case you’re wondering, YES this is also ALL on video. So the waitress wasn’t the only one to have interaction with this man. And what you forgot to mention was it wasn’t the man who was paying who chose the bottle of wine…it was his client. His client was told to order any bottle he wanted, being pretentious and not knowing much about wine he chose the most expensive one. He said yes each time they asked him if he was sure he wanted that bottle but the man who was paying HAD NO IDEA. When the check came and the payer panicked…so did his client. He suddenly had amnesia and claimed he didn’t know know how much the bottle was to avoid embarrassment. Crazy right? But see it’s all on video, and Bobby Flay knows this. Also I think you should fact check because typically even when ordering expensive wine a 15-20% tip is expected, ON ONLY THE FOOD not the wine, if the wine takes up more than 60% of the check. It’s proper etiquette. Maybe you should do your research more thoroughly next time instead of using TMZ as your primary source.

        Reply
    2. Taryn

      The whole point is he never saw a list, he asked for her recommendation and was upfront about not knowing much about wine. There is an understood amount for a bottle that you don’t have to over clarify the price (for a fine dining place like this I’d say a couple hundred $$). I sincerely doubt that EVERY single table in that restaurant ordering a wine and double checking the price expects and is willing to pay thousands. Even still, the server should NEVER assume that the guest understand. If she knew anything about serving tables she’d know that she’d be likely to get a bigger tip if she gave him a heads up on the high price, and recommended a more reasonably priced bottle.

      Reply
    3. James

      Asshoke. S bottle. If you go a car lot.

      What did I just read?

      I doubt anyone would go to a car lot and think any car would only cost $50 but it is completely reasonable for someone to think “thirty seven fifty” for wine would be $37.50 not $3750. Just sayin..

      Reply
    4. Jessica

      First of all if I was serving a dinner in a fancy restaurant and someone asked me how much a bottle of wine I recommend cost, I wouldn’t say “thirty-seven fifty.” I’d actually say “three thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars” to make sure there wasn’t any confusion. I blame both the server and the patron. The server should have been more specific on the price and the patron should have questioned the price.

      Second, the servers job is to make the guest experience top notch. Refill drinks, menu knowledge, serving food and upselling not to get a bigger tip by manipulating the customer. So yes I agree she was a bitch but the patron was also ignorant to not ask the right questions whether he knew about wine or not.

      Reply
    5. Jennifer

      Not sure what five star restaurants you have worked at where you never saw a person order a $40 bottle of wine for 10, but I worked in Vegas for 5 years at a couple restaurants in a casino that was the only 5 star/5 diamond resort in Nevada, and I have. And believe it or not I have tasted some ridiculously priced wines and in some cases would actually choose the $40 or less wine. It’s ignorant to think wine is better because it’s more expensive, that my friend is a rookie move. Plain and simple the server was being a low life. And Bobby Flay’s restaurant in Vegas or AC isn’t exactly the place to order a crazy wine like that with it in the middle of a smoke filled casino and blaring fluorescent lights.

      Reply
    6. Caitlin

      David,

      I have about eight years of serving experience from working through high school and college and up until I found a great career with my degree and I can still safely say that you, my friend, are a fucking idiot. That server knew what she was doing. You are a naive moron if you are going to try to argue that.

      Reply
    7. Caitlin

      David,I have about eight years of serving experience from working through high school and college and up until I found a great career with my degree and I can still safely say that you, my friend, are a fucking idiot. That server knew what she was doing. You are a naive moron if you are going to try to argue that.

      Reply
    8. Shiro

      “If you go a car lot, and the salesman shows you a brand spankin’ new corvette, and he says ‘It’s fifty.’ ”

      Classic case of a strawman. No car dealer is going to say “it’s fifty,” and if he does, the customer is going to follow-up with “What? You mean -grand?” or just assume since no car is going to be worth less than 3 digits. Even the junkiest of junkers is going to cost a few-hundred. Meanwhile, it’s not uncommon for bottles of wine to cost around the $50 mark, and it IS common for people to give prices in the form of 2 separate numbers for dollars and cents. So yeah, he was quite specifically mislead, and if I was him I’d be considering a lawsuit for misleading advertising practices.

      Reply
    9. Bobby

      David

      You’re obviously an AssHat check padding server. This is totally out of line and I fully agree with the writer. I have been in the restaurant business for over 35 years and can’t believe your stance. If the restaurant has a sommelier it’s their job to sell wine that cost $3,750 not a server!!!Good luck and if you are a server and worked at one of my places. You do this and you’re gone. I surely hope I never get you at my table!!! And please try to sell me “Screaming” at Thirty seven fifty. You are the Moron and jerk!!!

      Reply
      1. Josh

        I am a server at a chain restaurant, I always inform a guest when there is an upcharge, just to prevent a pissy people from getting pissier. Although the guests we see are tightwads and we don’t automatically put gratuity in. As I make 3.98 an hour I would rather the guest save money to tip me, hopefully not having a repeat of the one night i was stiffed 6 times in a row from big tables…

        Reply
    10. Wilson

      Did you even read the article? The host had nothing to do with or purchase the wine, his guest did. The host actually heard the real price later on and left without telling anyone as he “assumed” the others knew.

      Your analogy of the Corvette is wrong. A $50K Corvette looks like it costs a substantial amount of money. There is no real discernible obvious difference between a cheap and expensive bottle of wine. A person would be called stupid for thinking 50 would cover the cost of the car, but forgiven for mistaking one bottle for another.

      You sound pathetic and sad as most assholes do.

      Reply
  2. Maria

    Saying 3750 could clearly mean $37.50. Especially if he is ordering a 40$ steak. It should be up to the waitress to inform the consumer that it is 3,750$. She should not have tried to be sneaky that way at all whether for a bigger tip or not. She should have told him from the beginning especially if the menu does not includ prices. What if he didn’t have that money available and his friends could not pay to help?? Then there really would have been a controversy. I understand she may need to pay bills like 75% of america who works these types of jobs, but being sneaky and just plain rude is wrong. She might as well tried to rob a poor man of his spare change because she needed it that bad.

    Reply
  3. rob

    Dave ur comparing a bottle of wine to a car, im pretty sure ur a dumbass and way over killing it….I live in the area and been there, his steak house has bottles for under 50$. Its the servers job to make sure the customer is awear of the price and she intentionally said 37 50…. she mislead the gentleman and regardless of how many people are at his table she should have clarified it was 3,7450 not 37 50….

    Reply
  4. Michele Horn

    That’s total shit. She just gave all us servers a bad name. I have had people leave me a 100% tip and I went back and asked were they sure this is what they wanted to leave. You don’t take advantage of guests. EVER

    Reply
    1. Wendy

      I completely agree with you. It will always come back and bite those that do take advantage in the ass one day. Wonder how people that do this to other people would react to someone doing it to them, not very well I’m sure.

      Reply
  5. Anthony

    i completely agree with you. As servers we know the majority of our customers are complete fucking idiots, so it’s part of our job to educate him. You don’t walk into Louis Vuitton, ask how much a bag is, and the sales associate say ‘thirty seven fifty’ in the English language we say thirty seven HUNDRED. Kudos to the man for paying it though! I know about a zillion people would have just walked out. I wonder how much he tipped!

    Reply
  6. Jessica

    I loved this! First of all, hilariously written. Also very honest. I served for 8 years, so 99% of the time I’m on the servers side, but I had an experience like this except I didn’t get screwed out of nearly as much. My friends and I were at a Hooka bar that served Persian food. We decided on a chicken skewer appetizer that was around $10, unbeknown to us there was apparently also a large sampler platter with those same skewers and everything else for. $100 dollars.. A $100 appetizer. When my friend ordered our appetizer the server upsold us by repeating the name of the large platter , instead of the one we chose. Between the Hooka bars loud music and the servers accent we couldn’t quite hear so we pointed to the picture on the menu of the chicken skewers and said “yea, that one”. When the plate arrived it was not unusually large, it had about 2-3 small pieces of chicken and 2-3 small pieces of beef and some surrounding vegetables. It looked like a $10 appetizer , and having never been to this place before we didn’t know what it was supposed to look like ,so we assumed it was the right plate and ate it. When we got the bill, it was well over $100 for 2 hookahs and one small chicken plate like wtf? I asked the manager why our appetizer alone was $100 and he said we ordered the Party Platter. Ummm wait , no we didn’t and THATS a party platter?!?! It was so small. I told the manager that wasn’t what we ordered and there must have been a misunderstand and he refused to discount us at all. I paid and we left pissed.
    That was the first time I noticed a sketchy server

    Reply
  7. Felicia

    What a shitty thing to do. I ALWAYS say the price and then point it out in the menu just in case. That’s how we are taught. You make triple sure that and guest is okay with the price so they can’t contest

    Reply
  8. Jessica

    i completely agree with you. I know most nice places in AC, like other restaurants, have gratuity added to larger parties. So, let’s just say it’s low and only 15%, that a $562 grant on the wine alone, plus 10 people at minimum $30 a head, is another $45. I think what she did was wrong and even if she wasn’t doing it just for the tip how hard is it to say three thousand or even thirty seven hundred.

    Reply
  9. Prince Carouthers

    I agree she was doing her job and calling her a “b” might be a little harsh but, at the end of it all she is responsible for making the guest aware of the price. To that fact if you go into a dealership to look at a Chevy Aveo let alone a Vette there’s usually a big White stick with the price and features on the vehicle. She absolutely tried to get over and probably has pulled this type of stunt several times. The restaurant could have been a little more accommodating but that probably would have cost the waiters her job. In my opinion it should cost her job. That is the way it should be. Besides she will be able to get another server job tomorrow.

    Reply
  10. Ellie

    If this guy doesn’t know anything about wine, it’s not unreasonable for him to think that a particular bottle costs $37.50. And if he even glanced at the wine menu (it’s available on their website, if you’re curious), he would’ve seen that many of the bottle listed are in the double digits, so, again, $37.50 is not completely absurd. There is a big difference between buying wine and buying a car because most people are at least familiar enough with cars to identify a luxury brand. With wine, not so much, sir. In my opinion, the server was trying to pull a fast one. I’ve been to that restaurant several times and (like most things in AC) it’s a nice place, but it’s not the type of place where people routinely throw down thousands of dollars to buy one of the most expensive bottles on the menu. Maybe the server was new and didn’t realize that that is not the way to get a good tip. If you trick a guest into buying something he can’t afford, he certainly won’t be able to afford to tip you on top of it. It will be one of those times when the whole excuse saying, “Well, I already paid so much for the bill,” attempting to justify a poor tip will actually be, well, justified.

    Reply
  11. Rachael

    I wonder what Bobby Flay has to say abt his scumbag employees. And how the hell is this guy expected to tip when he spent his life savings on a bottle of wine!? Tips are voluntary you idiot, you probly just screwed yourself out of 20% of $2000…..

    Reply
  12. SlumSlut

    “This particular diner freely admitted he knew nothing about wine and was lead to believe that the bottle he ordered was ten times less than it was.”

    Your math is off by an order of magnitude. The diner was led to believe it was a HUNDRED times less expensive than it really was.

    Reply
    1. The Bitchy Waiter Post author

      Oops, I knew that. Math was never my forte, as Mrs. Huddleston at Stroman High School could tell you. Thanks. Corrected.

      Reply
  13. Annette

    I served for several years before I moved into restaurant management. I would have taken the bottle of wine off the check, because that is good customer service, and fired the server. Her behavior makes the establishment look dishonest and poorly ran, not properly trained and incapable of preventing staff from essentially robbing it’s patrons. I would expect higher standards from this restaurant. That server was wrong, no excuses and no putting the blame on the guest. She was wrong.

    Reply
  14. Shambam

    This is why many places require that a bottle menu be shown to a guest when explaining prices. The guest clearly sees what he/she is ordering, and the server has no chance to poorly explain the price as she did here. I agree with Bitchywaiter, she knew this was not the correct way to handle, and did just enough to tip the odds in her favor. This is why people don’t trust their servers. Please don’t give the rest of us who work hard a bad name.

    Reply
  15. Megan

    In defense of waitresses – she was doing her job, in this business you know we are told to “up sell” And also, was there proof she said 37.50? Or is the customer tweaking her words to his advantage? I’ve had many a customer re-quote me way off of what actually was said, and I’ve had many a customer do some shady sh*t to get their bill lowered, and I mean shady. I could list the ways but we are all in this industry and I know you have all dealt with it before. I have a very hard time believe this man actually thought that the bottle of wine was $37.50, a shot of top shelf vodka is $10 for goodness sake and I’ve even seen them priced closed to the $20 mark. So even if you don’t know much about wine if you are lucid enough to participate in a business dinner at a swanky place I’m sorry but to believe the bottle was 37.50, come on, if that man is THAT niave I would hate to know what kind of business man he is. But wait, obviously a pretty good one to afford a dinner at a place like that. He’s totally scamming. Come on.

    Reply
    1. juusoelias

      What? I could not understand half of what you just wrote.

      They have $40 wines on the list so why expect this one was any different?

      Reply
  16. Christy

    They key, my friend, is context. If you went to a car dealership and they said “fifty,” you would automatically know they meant fifty thousand because cars deal in thousands. That’s just a known fact. A restaurant is different. The man admitted he didn’t know anything about wine, so he admitted up front he didn’t know anything about costs. For her to say “thirty seven fifty” is to imply thirty seven dollars. Only a very small slice of the population would EVER go to a restaurant and expect to pay three thousand dollars for anything. He presented himself as a person who didn’t know anything about fine dining, and she took advantage of that, plain and simple.

    Reply
  17. ben

    Its funny about the comment where it says there probably isn’t a bottle under 50 because on the wine list, there’s a section titled “Fifty Under Fifty”. Lawyered.

    Reply
  18. eddie

    My question is, how does a waitress like her put a price for a $37.50 bottle of wine? Is it,
    A- thirty seven fifty $
    B- point three seven five zero $
    C- thirty seven and fifty $
    D- all of the above

    Reply
  19. Emily

    What this server did was absolutely misleading. I’m not sure who she thinks she is or how much money she’s pulling in down there, but $3,750 is an exorbitant amount of money to spend on a bottle of wine, especially if you know little to nothing about wine. Even if you are a master sommelier you would probably not order that wine in that environment. And as far as the restaurant mark up goes, if a restaurant gets the wine wholesale at, $25/bottle, they would most likely mark it up to anywhere from$75-$100. When they purchase really expensive wine it’s usually harder to sell so they don’t mark it up as much. If the bottle costs over $1000, it’s more likely to have $100 mark up, give or take. Plain and simple, you make more profit off of a less expensive product. We’ll liquor brings in more for the restaurant than top shelf, this is a fact. This idiot server should have been fired and the guest should have been charged no more than wholesale value for the bottle. Really he should have only been charged $37.50. I call bullshit.

    Reply
  20. mightymarmite

    The server should have called over the somm when the guy asked for a recommendation. IMHO that’s the only thing she did wrong.

    This group ordered some pretty expensive food: seafood tower for $130, a couple filets, and so on. In a high end place with celebrity chef owner and a dress code, that sells $45 steaks and regularly sells Screaming Eagle, it can be a very reasonable to perceive that they want to spend a lot of money.

    To torture another analogy, when I walk into Prada, and I look at a handbag, and the nice boy tells me it costs “nineteen-fifty,” (which has happened to me) I know I’m not going to hand over a $20 bill and get change.

    It is up to him to put on his glasses and look at the prices.

    The guy effed up.

    Reply
  21. Aled

    I haven’t read through all the comments, but would like to say that when speaking out loud “Thirty seven, fifty” would equate to $37.50.

    If you were saying $3,750.00, it would be said out loud as “Three thousand, seven hundred and fifty” or “Thirty seven hundred and fifty”. Either way, the server clearly knew she was being deceitful and I would have refused to pay it.

    I don’t know if it makes a difference in language terms, but I’m from England, so don’t know what’s colloquial in the U.S.A.

    Reply
    1. mightymarmite

      So if the server had said “three-seventy” would it then be safe to assume the bottle cost $3.70?

      Didn’t think so.

      Fact is, this is how prices are quoted, especially in high-end places, whether they are restaurants or retail. Go ahead. Call a few places and ask for the price of something and see what they say.

      Reply
      1. Bunny

        Your example only works because “three seventy” is equally used in colloquial language to indicate both $3.70 and $370. Technically, it only accurately conveys $3.70 (because the verbiage indicates the true groupings of the digits), not $370 due of the absence of the word ‘hundred’. That said, culturally we encounter the abbreviated version regularly enough that people are generally accustomed to it, and are more alert to the potential for mistranslation.

        “Thirty-seven fifty” does not fall under the same application of colloquial speech. NOBODY talks that way. The groupings do not make sense: We term things in descending values in the English language: Thousands, hundreds, tens, ones. Grouping two ‘tens’ together is ONLY indicative of $37.50 due to the way our language is structured, and we do not regularly encounter people speaking in ‘tens’ values when describing items valuing thousands. Colloquial language does have an abbreviation for thousands: “K.” That is not the verbiage she used. She used an uncommon, impractical and inaccurate way of conveying the number to the guest.

        Further, she recommended a 4k bottle to a dude that just told her he knows nothing about wine. Why would he want a 4k bottle? What value would he get out of it, since he does not have the knowledge or experience to appreciate it? To be just a mediocre server, you have to have the ability to read your table, anticipate their desires, and steer them to an experience matching or exceeding their expectations. She read this guy, alright, but the only word that translated for her was “sucker.”

        When a business misrepresents the price of an item in order to illicit illegitimate sales, they typically get punished by the law. When companies print up misleading advertisements or even just mistakenly post signage indicating an incorrect, substantially reduced cost, historically they have often been court-ordered to honor the price irrespective of profit loss. At best, this server is an idiot; at worst, she did this deliberately. Either way, the one thing we know for certain is that this guy was not expecting to pay four grand for a bottle of wine that he imbibed. For that alone, she shouldn’t be a server, irrespective of intent. If verbiage like that is their company policy, they’re crooked as hell, and it would be fascinating to watch it play out in court.

        Reply
        1. mightymarmite

          This article is also extremely one-sided. If you care to look at articles that also tell the restaurant’s side of the story, you’ll find out that not only did the waitress POINT TO THE PRICE ON THE MENU, but the sommelier also came over to do the same, and confirm the price.

          There is a certain amount of personal responsibility here that he has to be held to.

          Reply
          1. Bunny

            Generally speaking, I would agree with you. In this particular case, though, I cannot put this solely onto the customer. First off, I have never known a sommelier to address pricing, and I’ve worked in my share of restaurants that use sommeliers. A sommelier speaks to the vintage, confirms the selection, opens the bottle and talks up the wine. I’ve never encountered one that went over the cost of the bottle, and, if the server has done their job, I’d find this to be rather odd behavior. Onto pointing it out on the menu, the customer said that he could not read the menu. Now, more than likely, he could have if he had really tried, but you know how they get wrapped up in conversation and pay ill-attention. Plus, if he just heard “thirty-seven fifty,” why would he? He was entrusting his server; guests do it 1,000 a day when speaking to us. Bottom line, there were 10 guests at this table, yet not a one of them anticipated the cost of the wine; all were shocked by it. The server failed: First by recommending a completely inappropriate wine for the party, then by failing to adequately communicate the price.

  22. Amber

    I have to agree with BW. I work at an exceedingly nice restaurant. And ABSOLUTELY have bottles of wine that go from $40-$4000. It’s wrong to say 37.50. And the logic of a a $50 car doesn’t apply for all of the already said reasons above. Come on buddy try a better analogy.

    Reply
  23. BobbyAnn

    She wasn’t misleading at all. Sorry. My husband’s company takes their annual business trip here every year and everything is completely spelled out. No one tries to pull the wool over for a bigger tip, even if their is auto grat on a party of 10 [I don’t know because we don’t pay the bill, the bosses do.]

    Here’s the thing – she couldn’t have done it intentionally NO ONE, Not a server in their right mind is going to think the customer is going to miss a $3,400 difference on their bill. We would all be stupid to try.

    The customer tried to twist how she presented the words to his advantage, probably after drinking all night with his biz pals.

    In defense, again of Borgata, and their staff – the food is exceptional and service is fabulous. Always.

    Sorry to disagree BW, I rarely do, but in this case, I say no deal.

    Reply
  24. DM

    Does this bitch really think she will be getting any sort of tip, much less a crazy inflated one, from this guy who probably has to max out his credit card(s) just to cover his total bill. She would have gotten a much bigger tip from him if she gave him a bottle that actually was $37.50, he probably would have been appreciative of her help with the selection that way too.

    Reply
  25. Nichole

    A good server would understand that any guest asking for the price of ANYTHING on the menu has a stricter budget. Guests who are accustomed to ordering a $3,750 bottle of wine would not consider price, and rarely would they ask for a recommendation. She’s either sneaky, in a bad mood, or not too bright when it comes to reading patrons.

    Reply
    1. Johnnie

      I absolutely agree. Any server who has dealt with guests for very long, knows that if they are asking about price, they are budgeting their expenses.

      Reply
  26. Lori

    “inspect what you expect”.

    Server and patron both at fault.

    Great servers are pros and would have brought wine list and made a few suggestions at different price points after a simple needs assessment. A single bottle for a ten top? Seriously? She obviously saw an opportunity for high $$, which got in the way of making recommendations to order appropriate to the party size and needs. Deceitful and greedy and she will pay for it ten fold by not having a future job where she can make good money for her work very shortsighted.

    The patron is responsible to not play the victim card and in a fine dining establishment like that her price quote was a hedge red flag. If he is entertaining a party of ten in an expensive establishment he doesn’t ask for clarification of the price being less than the price of a main course? Is their menu and wine list without any prices? No doubt he must have had a lightbulb moment when he got the bill, realizing in a “fancy” retail environment that thirty seven fifty was not what he assumed. It’s a miracle he didn’t throw up on the table when his inner voice said “duh”.

    Reply
    1. Lori

      A footnote: I’ve shopped in plenty of retail establishments thought of as “upper crust” and how this server quoted is precisely how they quote. And I know EXACTLY what they mean because I know exactly where I am shopping.

      Reply
  27. Summer

    Sounds to me like someone is lying. There are two sides to every story. Where is the servers side? First of all, as a customer how can you be that unaware of your surroundings? You go into a restaurant. A nice one. You sit down, look at the menu. What’s the first thing you’re looking at? PRICES. You get a feel of everything on the menu. Did anyone read the original article? His total was 4,700. It’s not like this place was cheap all but the bottle. Besides that you have a party of 10. Not a single one of you guys knew what type of a restaurant you were headed to? Also, who settles for that outrageous of a bill? If you are seriously expecting to pay 37.50.. Would you just settle at 2,200 and call it a day? Fuck no! I would be contacting the police and having it settled right then and there. I would tell them I didn’t have the money. SOMETHING. You don’t just settle like that. Also, who in their right mind would assume they’d be getting a tip from screwing someone out of almost 3,000 dollars. You really think she’d assume to get 20% out of that one? Get real. Go to the actual article and he admits to 1. Not paying attention. And he says he has about a glass a month. You never knew how much it cost? You never saw pricing? Bullshit. And in my opinion. You have a menu. You have all of the information right in front of you. If you don’t read it, that’s your own fault.

    Reply
    1. trish

      Good point. And I thought the same thing about the tip. Who’s expecting a big fat tip after screwing someone out of 3 grand, lol?

      Reply
    2. FormerRestaurantManager

      This always goes back to caveat emptor. Protect yourselves- there are shady servers even in well-run establishments. And servers- don’t assume auto-great means run up the check…FFS.

      I do think there are some oddities about the story, and I am sure the truth lies between the guest version and the restaurant version of events. Also, unless that bottle was a magnum, that’s a poor amount of wine for 10 guests… Also, who pulled the $3750 bottle of wine for this server? Can the Sommolier simply grab such an expensive bottle of wine, or does a manager have to unlock it from a special compartment? I wonder about the manager’s involvement in this process. Poor oversight at the least, maybe, and shady management ( trying to bump sales, maybe for a bonus?)

      Reply
  28. Mari

    I’ll be honest… I’d have said “thirty seven fifty” – and then clarified after the guest said that was a good choice. Why? because when you’re on the phone and try to tell the call center rep 3750, you probably either say “thirty-seven fifty” or “three seven five zero” because they can’t seem to understand when you say “three thousand seven hundred and fifty.” Drives me nuts, But I do it.

    That said, I still think she was being a sneaky ho.

    Reply
  29. CJ

    This waitress was either deliberately deceitful or simply incompetent at quoting prices and handling customers. Either way, it is that restaurant’s responsibility to make it right with the customer, then deal with its employee accordingly. Train her to quote prices properly. Or fire her if they feel she did this deliberately. But there is no way they should just say, “your mistake. Sorry. Move on.”

    Reply
  30. trish

    That’s ridiculous. If you check out their wine list, there are many selections under $100 and even a Top 50 under $50 list. So thinking it was $37.50 isn’t at all unreasonable. For someone who admittedly didn’t know much about wine, the server should have at least asked what the customer was looking to spend. Especially since the prices range anywhere from $25 to $30,000 per bottle! I don’t understand how she expected to get a bigger tip, though. I would think tricking someone into spending 3 grand instead of $30 on a bottle of wine would ruin any chance I may have had of getting a nice tip. What an idiot.

    Reply
  31. Johnnie

    Bitchy, you are absolutely right. That is some shady-ass shit. The dude told her up front that he didn’t know diddly squat about wine. Being as wine is an acquired taste, most people start off with inexpensive whites, usually semi-sweet and reasonably priced. They don’t start off with the most expensive bottle of wine in the friggin restaurant. If none of the bottles of wine are less than 50 dollars, then you should recommend something around that price range, for a beginner. This is the same reason a parent doesn’t buy their child a Ferrari the day after they acquire a driver’s license. And by saying thirty-seven fifty, I’m sure he didn’t expect her to mean Three thousand 7 hundred and fifty dollars. His entire check before the bottle of wine was more than likely not even half of that, even with 10 people. The highest priced wine in our restaurant is $150.00. And for someone who doesn’t know squat about wine, that is the absolute last thing I would suggest for them. She would have sh** her pants if he told the sommelier, “No, I don’t really care for that one, take it away.” If it was me, I would have stiffed her along with a note that said “I’m keeping your tip to recoup part of the bottle of wine you sold me, Mrs. Shady McShaderson”. And as a server, I don’t stiff servers. It’s shit like this that gives servers a bad reputation.

    Reply
  32. Sandra

    I admit, the waitress’s terminology was a little tricky. Whether she did it on purpose or not, is hard to say. But if a company dinner is taking place in a 5-star restaurant, the host better expect to spend some money. I don’t have any problems with the server trying to upsell to the gentleman. That’s her job. The restaurant makes money and so does she. To suggest that she should’ve offered a cheaper wine is ridiculous. Why would you do that? As a server, yeah, your job is to take care of the customer, but first and formost, you’re there to make money. I don’t think the error is in trying to sell a company dinner of 10 businessmen an expensive bottle of wine. That’s going to be your best target to sell that shit. Saying 3750 instead of 3,750…eh….depending on how long she’s been employed with that restaurant, she may not have seen a big deal in using that terminology. I have to assume that after a while, she’s used to her customers knowing what the hell they’re buying. I think it could’ve been a honest mistake. Not to mention that the guy was eating a $50 steak! How in the hell do you figure your bottle of wine is gonna be cheaper? I put it on the customer for not making sure he understood what she was telling him. She’s not a mind-reader.

    Reply
  33. Mikeyrugs

    This customer was clearly an asshole, The price of the bottle of wine was clearly printed on the menu for $3750.00. It is not the waitresses fault or the establishment that the man can’t read the menu. 10 business men in suits ordering a $3700 bottle of wine is not unusual at all at a high-end restaurant like this, so I don’t think the waitress did anything intentionally to try to profit from it. Shame on him for not reading the menu properly!!

    Reply
  34. sally

    Bobby Flay should do the right thing and refund him. If not, maybe Mr. Lentini can take the waitress and/or restaurant to small claims court. This would be a GREAT & unique case for Judge Judy!

    Reply
  35. White Russian

    Y’all, think about it. We’re not talking IHOP somewhere on I-95 between North and South Carolinas.
    1. Its Atlantic city.
    2. Its fucking Bobby Flay’s steakhouse.
    3. Do you homework – open up their website (I dunno, say use Internet to learn some background before you blame the server)

    http://www.bobbyflaysteak.com/file/2210/BFS_Wine%20(7).pdf

    4. 10 Businessmen having a nice dinner at the celebrity-chef’s fine-dining. Hmm. Its not chips’n’salsa with some house white zin kind of meal.

    If you open up Borgata’s wine list, there’s only 4 bottles of Cabernet under $75 with the cheapest bottle listed at $60.

    There’s two and a half pages worth of Cab and -drumroll – bottles under $100 take up only half page. So we can assume that its not uncommon of this establishment to sell some $200, $300 bottles. And I bet you, If asked about the price, it gets called as two-fifty, or three-twenty, with no misunderstanding issues.
    Hence their servers might be used to counting hundreds that simple way, and thirty seven – fifty is just her way of calling it.
    After all, Screaming Eagle is on top of the list and is the highest priced bottle of Cab.
    A grown up man can look at the list and realize that bottles at the beginning are the cheapest, and at the end are the most expensive ones. Even without looking at the prices that’s what my common sense tells me.
    $37.50, really? And the guy didn’t even question the cents in the price (which is very uncommon for fine-dining), didn’t have his glasses and was dumb to take whatever was offered.

    I always offer $40 steak, but bitches turn around and take $13 chicken. Its called making an educated decision. Its our job to offer high end shit, its their choice to go with it or turn it down.

    Bitchy, I’ve always loved you, and am a die-hard fan of yours, I will keep on loving you regardless, but I’m not with you on this particular one, sorry.

    Reply
  36. Johanna

    As a member if the industry for 21 years I can tell you this server was being sneaky in her wording of the pricing, I’ve known many a server like this and I’m sure she will get what’s coming to her. I’ve also worked in establishments where they encouraged this type of behavior. I’ll tell you the number one thing this type of behavior brings is a lack of repeat business. To those who are defending this server “oh he shoukd of double checked” or “he should have known better where he was dining at” or any other comment who is defending the server, you’re stupid she was wrong she knew full well what she was doing, furthermore if you are hosting a dinner out at an establishment it’s a faux paux to obsess over the price, 37-50 as the server states is $37.50 3,750 $ is what shoukd have been said. Next time I hope he just asks to see a wine list.

    Reply
  37. Ann

    There is no situation in which the amount $3750 would ever be pronounced “thirty-seven fifty.” She absolutely knew what she was doing!

    Reply
  38. Jen

    The man himself said that the server physically pointed to the wine she was recommending on the wine menu in front of him. It had the price printed. He says that he couldn’t see well without his glasses and asked the price. Unless he actually told the server that he couldn’t see the price on the menu (a possibility), it was reasonable for her to assume that he knew it. If after he agreed to the bottle, the server had questioned him (i.e. are you SURE you can afford this?), we would still be hearing about this story, but for a different reason.

    Reply
  39. BenJam

    no server would intentionally misquote a price that dramatically. You can get fired in a heartbeat and even charged for that. That’s way too steep of a misquote for it to be intentional. I’ve been a server for a long time and I can tell you that no server would have the balls to do that. I work at a 5 star restaurant and I know that none of my coworkers would even try that. This website is ridiculous. We’re not “out to get you.” Get real.

    Reply
  40. Captain

    Based on previous comments, this comment will clearly get bashed. But the server did nothing wrong.

    The time that the guest’s jaw should have dropped was when he heard “3750”. Because if he was assuming he could get any wine in a Bobby Flay restaurant for under $50, he was probably an idiot that deserved this. Go to Olive Garden, any bottle of wine worth recommending is over $37.50.

    The server did nothing except her job. Her job is to helpt he guest. The guest asked for a recommendation. She made one. He took it. End of story.

    Go ahead and bash me for this opinion, but please know that you have no chance of changing my mind.

    Reply
  41. Laura

    Or… HE’S totally full of shit, knows good wine, and thought he’d get a free bottle by playing the victim, and that’s not how the conversation between him and his waitress actually went.

    Reply
  42. Madelyn

    Great post! I worked as a waiter’s assistant for 3 months at a hotel (in Croatia), but I didn’t serve beverages during dinner (waiters did that). They had to recommend wine to a lot of guests and a lot of them asked for suggestions. There were others that knew what they wanted without asking (they were upper class and went for the more expensive stuff). A lot of our guests were lower class and they didn’t know much about wine, so our waiters offered the cheapest wine every time.
    So, I do believe that this guest was cheated and that thirty seven fifty means 37.50.

    Reply
  43. Jennifer

    I guess it all depends on the situation, I believe this was a casino restaurant where high rollers go and think nothing of spending that on a bottle of wine. If the guy had a “money is no object” attitude and was flashing a bunch of cash that’s one thing. Then on the other hand, if u have to ask it’s too much and if that’s the case u r an idiot for jacking your sales (&tip out I would imagine) up that high when u r being shady. If that’s the case the b***h got what she deserved presumably getting a bad tip & outrageous tip out off that check! I’m sure YOU KNOW u have to read your tables & treat them accordingly. Table of high rollers way different from the couple ordering 2 waters (&carrying the little flavor packets to put in it ha ha, or want a lemon tree to make their own lemonade) & share the cheapest thing on the menu claiming they’re not very hungry. The latter will most likely take any up sells or extras out of the sh**y tip u might have gotten.

    Reply

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