THE BLOG
10/07/2014 08:32 am ET Updated Dec 07, 2014

Does This Restaurant Go Too Far Against the Customer?

Although I generally write about the topics that relate to parenting and children, I am bursting to share an experience that I had last week at a trendy new restaurant by the name of "A.C.O. Restaurant and Wine Bar." The food was okay, the service was excellent and the ambiance was lovely. Why then do you think I am outraged by time spent there? Let me explain. When my husband and I go to a restaurant we enjoy all of the things I mentioned; however, when the customer becomes second fiddle to the owner, I object.

Generally, bread baskets are not brought to the table unless requested by the guests. There is usually no charge for this. Upon receiving our bill I noticed a three dollar charge for the bread. This was not something that really irritated me, but I did not like the fact that we were not told of the charge upon our request. My real dismay and anger came with a charge of three percent for the waiter's health insurance! Again, it was not the amount of the charge, but when we were told to look again at the menu, we saw in microscopic print the fact that there would be a three percent additional charge for our waiter's health insurance. This was supposed to make it okay for them to charge us, but to me it was not okay.

I called the waiter over and he explained that the owner didn't want to raise the prices on the menus. (They were already pricey enough!) so they added a tax to help them pay for health insurance for their waiters. I told him that I agreed that he and all waiters deserve health insurance, and that without good waiters, there would be no restaurant. I also told him that I believed that the owners were obligated to cover the insurance for their employees, not me. He appreciated my candor, and dutifully called upon the manager after we finished paying the bill.

I was soft spoken and polite as I informed the manager that we would never return to this restaurant nor would we ever recommend it to anyone. I also told her that although the service was good and the food was tasty, I felt that it was wrong to be charged an additional tax. The manager was very apologetic and told me that we did not have to pay for the tax, it was only if we wanted to! Huh? By this time I was confused and getting really angry at the whole thing. I felt victimized with what the owner probably felt was a clever way of getting the consumer to shell out more money. I tried to explain that it was not the few dollars that was upsetting me, but rather it was the principle! I didn't mention the bread, but that irritated my husband in that we were not told of that charge either.

Somehow, I could forgive the charge for the bread, but I could not let go of the outrage I felt over the insurance tax! Many people don't read the fine print on anything anymore, and I am sure that that is what they were counting on. Obviously, the owner was not happy with having to pay for Obamacare, so this was a sneaky way to not pay enough for the employees. I am still angry thinking about this. It's not fair. We all put our dues in when we work, but how very sad that a waiter who does his work so well has to bend to the wishes of an owner who does not appreciate him.

I object to people not being treated fairly, whether they are the employees or the consumers. I am not going back there again-ever!