While out for dinner with friends the other evening, the subject of “honesty” came up in conversation, and quite an interesting debate ensued.
Let me put forward three examples of things that have happened to us in the last few months:
1. At the end of our holiday in Greece back in July, on checking through the hotel bill, we realised that we hadn’t been charged for a (very expensive) meal that we’d had one evening in one of the resort’s restaurants. Ashley & I discussed this and decided to point it out. When we went to pay the bill, we did this, and the hotel manager said that as they had failed to charge us for the meal, we should consider that the meal was on them, and refused payment for it.
2. When we were on holiday in Spain with my parents last month we were charged one evening for two bottles of wine rather than the three we had actually consumed. My father pointed this out to the waitress, who thanked him and altered the bill accordingly.
3. Last weekend when we were away at a hotel in Dorset, I had a manicure which was quite nice but extremely overpriced (in my humble opinion) at £35. When we went to pay the hotel bill, they had omitted to charge for the manicure. I didn’t bother pointing this out to them and hence we didn’t pay for it.
So, what’s the difference? Well, for me, I think it’s all about perceived value for money.
And I thought the manicure was a rip off (as are the prices in general at that particular hotel – but we do love going there so in the main we put up with it). The management there are also notoriously mean – on one occasion, the hotel was offering an incentive of a free bottle of champagne for every booking made. Despite the fact that we had booked three rooms (and go twice a year, every year – over the years we must have spent tens of thousands of pounds there), the manager would only give us one bottle of champagne between the three rooms, rather than one for each room booked. How tight is that?!
The expensive meal in scenario 1, however, was exactly the opposite. Although it was a good couple of hundred euros, it didn’t feel like a rip off, the service was brilliant, the ambience was great and the food and wine were superb. And our custom at that particular hotel is always appreciated, we are often given a complimentary drink or canapés, and generally made to feel quite special.
The restaurant in scenario 2 is a simple, rustic place, which is really good value for money, with friendly staff, and is run by a nice chap who always remembers my parents and is pleased to see them.
So, fess up, would you come clean if you were undercharged? Or not? I’m dying to know!