Was the waitress wrong or am I?

I was in a restaurant. It was a non-chain diner type place. I ordered my meal and asked for a glass of iced tea. The waitress did not ask me any questions about my order.

When my drink arrived, I found out my iced tea was heavily sweetened. I generally don’t like sweet tea. When the waitress walked by, I asked her if they had unsweetened tea and she said they did. I asked her is I could have an unsweetened tea instead of sweet tea.

I had only taken one taste of the tea. She took the sweet tea away and brought me an unsweetened tea. The rest of the meal was fine.

Then she brought me my check and I saw that she had charged me for two drinks; the sweet tea and the unsweetened tea.

I didn’t think this was right. This was not a region where sweet iced tea is the default drink. The restaurant served both sweet tea and unsweetened tea. I feel the waitress should have asked me at the time I ordered if it was an issue. And I feel that when I sent the first tea back undrank, I shouldn’t have been charged for it.

I didn’t argue the point. But I’ll admit I took the cost of the second tea and subtracted it from the tip I left.

So who was at fault? Me, for not being clear enough about my order? The waitress, for not asking? Nobody, and it was just one of those things?

Should I have been charged for the replacement tea? Should I have argued the point? Or was reducing the tip the appropriate response?

I think you’re right and I likely would have reacted the same way as you. No big fuss, she gets the smaller tip in response and that results in you paying the same as you would have anyway.

Definitely, you were in the right.

Although I wonder if the waitress was at fault, and not an overbearing tightwad owner, who was watching, and would bitch at her when going through the tickets.

Was there are written menu somewhere? did it mentioned sweetened & unsweetened tea?

If there was a menu or billboard or the drinks written down somewhere, that specified both, then I would feel that you were in the wrong.( Though in a perfect world, she would ask for clarification ) you should have noted that there was both and been more clear.

If there wasn’t anywhere that said sweetened and unsweetened, it would be the waitress’s fault.

Though, I say waitress’s fault lightly, because it maybe the policy of the restaurant.

Unless you asked for sugar in your tea, the restaurant should not have put sugar in. They made a mistake. You should not have to pay for their mistake.

Point out their error, if they don’t deduct the cost of the mistake then I reckon don’t make a big deal, just don’t come back again.

Not sure about this tip thing, but it does seem weird providing payment above what was requested when good service was not delivered.

You should have clarified with her that the sweetened was not what you wanted, and then when charged should have asked to have it removed from the bill.

Whether she then had to make it up or whatever is not your issue.

It could also have been an error that it was charged to your bill - maybe they have some form of electronic drinks ordering system and she just forgot to cancel the first drink when ordering the second?

Which would hardly be deserving of a docked tip (IMHO)

It’s your fault for being a pussy and not telling the restaurant to take the ice tea off your bill. It costs them nothing for a glass of ice tea.

Is it possible that what you were served was Nestea or another tea-flavored beverage from a fountain stand provided by your friendly neighborhood macro-soft drink distributor?

Yeah, just be more assertive next time. If someone tried that in Michigan (good tea by default, not sweet), I’d make them set it straight.

Oh, wait, it happens all the time to me at McDonald’s now since they’ve introduced crappy, hillbilly, sweet tea.

On the other hand if you should go to Kentucky or Ontario or some other foreign place and order iced tea (not “ice tea”) and literally spit it out on the table because it scared you because it wasn’t what you were expecting, then it’s fair to have to pay for a proper, unsweetened tea after having received the first abomination – after all, that (somehow) is their so-called “culture.”

This was my thought as well. Did you ask her about the bill?

I wouldn’t have put it quite this way, but yeah. When she brought the bill I would have exclaimed “wait- you’re actually charging me for two iced teas? That’s ridiculous!” and so on. A glass of iced tea costs the restaurant a few pennies. Make an issue out of it and they’ll take it off. But yes, she should have asked you to clarify your order in the first place. If you don’t at least mention it she’ll just look at what you left her and think, hm, that’s a pretty shitty tip, and not know why.

It was clearly her fault initially, but your decision to dock her tip for the mistake seems overly harsh. You should have just asked her to take it of the bill, then tipped accordingly. The problem with what you did is that she had no way of correcting the mistake, or even knowing a mistake was made. She probably just thinks you are a shitty tipper, which is ultimately gonna result in poorer experience for everyone in the future.

This. Yes, in a perfect world they should have asked if you wanted sweet tea or not, but under the circumstances, you should have asked for it to be removed from the bill instead of dicking her on the tip.

I’ve been charged before for items I did not order/eat. It’s a simple matter to request that they take it off of the bill. If the waitress refuses, then you politely ask to see the manager and politely present your case to him/her. If the manager insists that you pay, voice your displeasure clearly and politely (don’t raise your voice; civilized conversants speak to each other, not to the whole restaurant), but fergodsake don’t shortchange the waitress on the tip.

Christ, do people really not talk to each other anymore to resolve problems?

I’m with you on this Nemo. She should have asked if she knew there was more than one possibility for the tea. Taking it out of her tip was fine, but you should have politely mentioned the reason to her.

The waitrose was wrong to charge you for the sweetened tea.

You were wrong to not raise it when you noticed it on the bill.

I call it evens!

It’s a dollar. I would pay and tip normally and not give a shit.

All of this.

You should have discussed the bill with the waitress. Docking her tip was inappropriate when it may not have been her error. If she was busy, she could have easily asked someone else to get an iced tea for her, and you just docked her tip for that person’s mistake.

Also, when you requested a new glass, did you specifically say “this isn’t what I ordered”? There’s a difference between changing your mind and getting the wrong drink. She may have thought you just changed your mind.


Had the OP accidentally gotten a sweetened lobster, it would be a different story.

Only a dollar? Aren’t most beverages up to about two or three dollars in restaurants by now?

I think the restaurant/waitress was wrong, too. Even if unsweetened wasn’t the default, I think it would still be really crappy of them to charge you for something you didn’t even drink.