I recently received an e-mail from Cathy, the owner and manager of The Nose asking me this: "If you order 'off the menu' should you accept what you get given or should the restaurant's conjure up a completely new dish if you want it?"
She had a lady coming into The Nose (not exactly a takeaway joint) asking for a toasted cheese sandwich. They don't do toasted sandwiches, only ciabattas which they explained.
She persisted, so they explained they'll use the sliced breakfast toast and cheddar they use on their burgers to make her a toasted cheese. After all this effort, she sent it back and refused to pay for it, as she was expecting something bigger, made in a "proper" toasting machine and with a tomato... of course.
Then Cath, from the Food24 team, told me a story about serving a couple during her many years as a restaurant manager in London. She presented the bottle of wine to the couple and then poured a glass for both of them. After she filled their glasses, the man coughed and nodded to the teddy bear sitting on the table with a little wine glass in front of it. She then proceeded to top up the teddy's wee little wine glass. Hilarious!
I'd like to believe that the customer should always be right but what happens when the customer is just damn annoying or a bit unreasonable?
Here are some debatable examples...
To tip or not to tip
At 95 Keerom Jim decided that he wouldn't tip the waitress 10% because he doesn't tip on wine. Is he being cheap or does he have a point?
Nikki booked the cigar lounge at Cape To Cuba for 20 people and expected to have a table with 20 seats available as well. The manageress defended the seating arrangements by saying it's a lounge area, if that is what you wanted you should have booked out the whole lounge. Read the comments that followed and decide who you think is right.
Getting your money's worth
Brendon decided to take Maestro's on the Beach up on their "Eat as many prawns as you like" offer. Needless to say Brendon and the "10 members of his rather large family" finished all the prawns in Maestro's in 45 min flat. Is it the restaurant's fault that they ran out of prawns or did Brendon and his family exploit the special offer?
And service of course!
Natasha had a serious problem with the waitresses' skirts being too short at Butcher Boys, especially when they bent over to pick up knives and forks. Should management enforce a strict "four fingers above the knee" rule or should Natasha keep her eyes on her food?
What do you think – is the customer always right?
Ilze Dreyer is the deputy editor of Food24 and she believes in common sense, decent behaviour and a bit of sanity.