Author Topic: Cancelling a drink order . . .  (Read 4151 times)

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jpcher

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Cancelling a drink order . . .
« on: October 08, 2012, 06:37:15 PM »
I went out to dinner last weekend with some friends. When the dessert menus were presented I ordered an after-dinner drink, which I prefer instead of dessert and I enjoy sipping it slowly.

Waitress came back and took the dessert orders. No drink.

Waitress came back and served the desserts, looked at me and said "Your drink will be coming shortly." At which point I asked her to please cancel the order. (I didn't think that there would be enough time to properly enjoy it, except for a few sips.)

It was probably at least 15-20 minutes between placing my order and cancelling it. No biggie, we were all having a wonderful time.


Curious -- are you obligated to pay for a cancelled order that was never actually served? (Maybe it was sitting at the bar waiting for server to deliver? :-\)

I could understand that if I cancelled it while she was setting down in front of me, then I should pay. Right?


One of the friends, SURPRISE!;D, picked up the tab for the entire table. I couldn't find a polite way to say "check to make sure she didn't charge you for that drink that I cancelled."


It still bugs me and I'm wondering what would have been the best way to handle this situation.

TootsNYC

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Re: Cancelling a drink order . . .
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2012, 06:42:19 PM »

One of the friends, SURPRISE!;D, picked up the tab for the entire table. I couldn't find a polite way to say "check to make sure she didn't charge you for that drink that I cancelled."

You handled the waitress perfectly.

But you could have said to your friend, "Check to make sure she didn't charge you for that drink that I cancelled."

Why would that NOT have been polite? What's making you think that it would have been rude to have said it?

Of course you would want to say it directly to the bill-picker-upper, and you wouldn't want to use a complainy tone of voice (since that can dampen everyone's spirits).

But drinks are expensive! Feel free to remind your friend of something that will save her/him lots of money.

The delivery of your food, and the experience of enjoying it, are part of what you're contracting for in a restaurant, and if you don't like the terms, you are completely fine to reject the contract. As far as I'm concerned, the contract is cancellable almost right up until the delivery of the food (and sometimes beyond).

NyaChan

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Re: Cancelling a drink order . . .
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2012, 06:43:09 PM »
I don't think you were obligated to pay for the drink as you did cancel it.  I think the waiter figured you would want your drink at the same time everyone had their dessert & you could have asked to have it brought immediately when you ordered.  With no indication that you wanted it sooner, I think it should have been brought at the same time the desserts showed up.  I suspect the waiter either was waiting to order it until the desserts were out (not good IMO) or didn't have room to carry it with the desserts.  Still, he could have told you that it was all ready for you, just needing delivery and didn't.  Under the circumstances, I think not asking your friend was the way to go.  Somehow when people start looking at the bill/receipt it brings the gesture of treating and the nice feelings of a fun night out down a little.

jpcher

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Re: Cancelling a drink order . . .
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2012, 07:09:59 PM »
But you could have said to your friend, "Check to make sure she didn't charge you for that drink that I cancelled."

Why would that NOT have been polite? What's making you think that it would have been rude to have said it?

To clarify -- this is a relatively new group of friends, so I'm not all that close to them yet. I'm the outsider. If it were family or a close buddy? I would have had no problem saying "Check that bill!"

But I see what you're saying.



Somehow when people start looking at the bill/receipt it brings the gesture of treating and the nice feelings of a fun night out down a little.

This is why I froze and didn't say anything.

I thought it would be rude to question the bill to the hostess . . . almost like asking "How much did you spend?"

Plus, add in the fact that she paid the bill on the QT. I couldn't find a discrete way to ask her if there was a charge since we were all at the table.

bloo

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Re: Cancelling a drink order . . .
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2012, 07:33:58 PM »
While it may have been sitting at bar, it was not rude to cancel the order and I don't know that I'd have had the bottle to ask the host of the meal if they'd been charged for the erstwhile drink under the circumstances you outlined.

I remember a waitress that forgot my soup (to be delivered before my meal). Once I had my meal I no longer wanted the soup but forgot to mention it until we got the bill. I pointed out to the waitress to take off the soup as I'd not received it. I wasn't rankled that she forgot my soup, I was rankled actually that she chastised me for not reminding her to bring it out to me! But I kept smiling and paid the bill especially since we were with another couple

Frostblooded

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Re: Cancelling a drink order . . .
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2012, 08:50:26 PM »
My feelings on this is that it's actually rude not to say anything to the person paying to make sure they check for the order, not that it's rude to ask for the drink order to be cancelled. They might have needlessly paid for it.

TootsNYC

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Re: Cancelling a drink order . . .
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2012, 09:11:12 PM »
You could also say something a bit later, as long as you haven't gotten into the car. Hopefully they have the receipt. Heck, pass them a note.

CakeBeret

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Re: Cancelling a drink order . . .
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2012, 12:05:46 PM »
I've done this with my in-laws, when we didn't get something we'd ordered and I opted to cancel the item instead. I just say "Oh, check the bill, I want to make sure you don't get charged for the X Item that we never received."
"From a procrastination standpoint, today has been wildly successful."

jpcher

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Re: Cancelling a drink order . . .
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2012, 04:02:15 PM »
Okay. I screwed up.

You could also say something a bit later, as long as you haven't gotten into the car. Hopefully they have the receipt. Heck, pass them a note.

Passing a note? LOL! Everybody would have seen me scribbling on a napkin and then I would have had to ask other diners to please pass this on to hostess.

Saying something in the parking lot? I don't know if this would have been appropriate because it would have been after the fact. If I were the hostess and someone approached me later, after the bill had been paid? I would have just blown it off and not bothered going in to get a refund on a $7.00 drink.

Same being, if I were a SURPRISE! hostess at a friendly get-together, I wouldn't check the bill all that closely. I would just pay up without asking "Did you get your dessert drink?" or "Who ordered the extra appetizer?"

Does that make sense?




Okay. Now that we all know that I screwed up, what is the best way to handle the situation? (I still don't know if there actually was a charge on the bill for that drink or not.)


I understand that reciprocation is in order. I will offer an invitation to her for lunch/dinner/drinks etc. which I will gladly pay for. (I kinda really like her. She seems to be the life of the party type person.)


Should I mention the possibility of overcharge for my cancelled drink?

NyaChan

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Re: Cancelling a drink order . . .
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2012, 04:05:07 PM »
Wait how did you screw up?  I thought overall you were fine - at most you could have been clearer to the waitress that you wanted the drink immediately, but I don't think you did something really wrong.

rose red

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Re: Cancelling a drink order . . .
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2012, 04:08:42 PM »
I don't think there's anything that can be done now so I wouldn't say anything.  Just invite her out and enjoy yourselves. 

jpcher

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Re: Cancelling a drink order . . .
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2012, 04:57:35 PM »
Wait how did you screw up?  I thought overall you were fine - at most you could have been clearer to the waitress that you wanted the drink immediately, but I don't think you did something really wrong.

By not mentioning the possibility of an erroneous charge to the hostess.

NyaChan

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Re: Cancelling a drink order . . .
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2012, 05:00:43 PM »
I don't think that is screwing up at all.  If the cost was such a big deal to the hostess, I'd imagine she would have checked it out herself to see if the bill matched up.  Under the circumstances, I think you were fine to keep quiet.  Speaking up to someone you don't know very well when they are trying to make a gesture can be awkward, and honestly, if you guys had a nice dinner out with dessert & drinks, I doubt one drink would make that big of a difference unless you were ordering a crazy expensive one.

jpcher

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Re: Cancelling a drink order . . .
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2012, 05:07:39 PM »
Thank you, NyaChan.

Other posters said that I should have spoken up and was rude to not have done so.

Unusual Banana

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Re: Cancelling a drink order . . .
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2012, 07:15:20 PM »
I think you handled it correctly. It's up to the person paying to check the bill to make sure they're being charged the correct amount.

If I were the hostess in this kind of situation I wouldn't look at the bill too closely because I wouldn't care if I ended up paying a bit too much, so to me going through the entire bill to make sure everything was right wouldn't be worth the trouble. I wouldn't really appreciate being reminded to do something I'd actually decided not to do (although I'd certainly pretend to be grateful and I wouldn't mind it from a close friend or family member). If the hostess was someone who cared about not paying too much she'd be checking everything on the bill herself anyway so the reminder about your cancelled drink would be unnecessary in that case too.

You definitely shouldn't say anything about it now, since there's nothing she can do about it.