Would You Like A Complimentary Upsell While You Wait For Your Sub?

Todd writes that after he paid for his sub at a local pizza/sandwich shop, the helpful counter person asked him, “Would you like a drink while you wait?” Assuming that she was offering him a beverage while he waited for his sub to be made, Todd accepted. Except the drink wasn’t complimentary.

“I expect that to happen while we are conducting business, not after the money has changed hands,” he wrote to Consumerist. When he protested, he didn’t have to pay for the drink. What would you have assumed?

He writes:

I went to a pizza/sandwich shop today during my lunch hour. It’s a sit down place that also does carry-out. I ordered an Italian sub with anchovies — to go. “That’ll be $10.45,” the counter lady said. So I gave her my debit card and she swiped it and handed me the receipt. I added a $1.00 tip, signed it, and handed it back to her. Then she said “Would you like a drink while you wait?” I said sure. She made up a glass of tea and passed it over the counter to me. Then she wanted to charge me for the tea. I tried to push it back then, but she backed off and opted to not charge me.

When she offered me a drink “while I wait,” after I had already paid my bill, I kind of assumed it was a complimentary drink. If she was going to up-sell me on a $1.75 glass of tea, I expect that to happen while we are conducting business, not after the money has changed hands. Did she expect me to slide my card again and sign another receipt? Maybe after I bought the tea, I could slide my card a third time for a cannoli?

What do you think?


Edit Your Comment

  1. deejmer says:

    I think she did it wrong. I doubt her mgmt would tell her to approach an upsell in this way.

    • zandar says:

      yeah. kinda missing the window of opportunity to mention it after the ringup. duh.

    • djanes1 says:

      Maybe she is required to upsell during every order, forgot, and tried to make up for it after the fact?

    • whgt says:

      PF Changs always offers me a FREE drink with the exact wording of “would you like something to drink while you wait” when I drop by for a take out order.

  2. kt says:

    You weren’t a guest at her house, you were in a place that serves food and drink for a price why would you think it would be free?

    • scratchie says:

      Because he had already paid? Is this a trick question? All she said was “a drink”, so he probably thought she was going to give him a glass of water.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      One of the spas I used to go to had a woman who did manicures and sometimes when a client was waiting, she’d ask them whether they wanted a hand massage. She never charged for it.

      • DariusC says:

        If she meant using her hand to massage my… yeah, sure, go ahead lady!

      • El_Fez says:

        I need to find a better class of “masseuse”. The ones I frequent always charge me for the hand massages.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          For all the times I visited that spa, I only saw her offer a few times so I don’t think she made a practice of it every day. If she really did give out hand massages on a daily basis, I’m sure the spa would have wanted her to charge.

          All of the spas I go to (my favorite, then my list of backups in case my favorite is booked) offer complimentary water, soda, etc. One of my backup salons offers a complimentary glass of wine.

        • JulesNoctambule says:

          For great massage, I recommend licensed massage therapists over ‘masseuses’ any day of the week.

      • tbax929 says:

        My hairdresser almost always offers me a soda or bottle of water from their machine. Maybe it’s because I go every week and always tip well, but it never struck me as odd.

        I’ve also had many restaurants give me a free drink while I’m waiting for a take-out order to be ready. It’s really not that unusual.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Because a lot of restaurants do this. They’ll offer you something small and/or cheap while you’re waiting for your food if it’s a to-go order or if your food is taking a long time.

      • NarcolepticGirl says:

        Really? I have never experienced that in my life.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          I have. One restaurant offered us a complimentary starter because our food was taking a while – not even an outrageous amount of time, either. At another restaurant, the chef sent out some complimentary amuse bouches for our table. It was soooo delicious, too. No one else at our table liked them, and I couldn’t let them go to waste, so I ate them all.

          • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

            I’ve experienced the same thing. If there’s an excessively long wait, table too small for the party, loud child next table over, or really anything that reduces the pleasantness of the meal, it’s not uncommon to get a free appetizer or drinks.

            This isn’t just for nice restaurants. Our local pizza place will throw in free soda or breadsticks if they get too backlogged.

            I’d also consider “…while you wait” or “…for your wait” synonymous with “on the house” — Though, this might be a regional thing.

        • digital0verdose says:

          That is unfortunate for you I guess. I have been offered a free drink while waiting for food at the places listed below:

          Pei Wei

          • colorisnteverything says:

            Our local chinese place does this too. They are awesome about getting it to you fast, but if they don’t, they offer a complimentary beverage of your choice.

        • Griking says:

          Same here. When a restaurant asks if I want a drink I never assume it’s free.

          • Clyde Barrow says:

            I agree that one should never assume it is free because we should ask anyhow. However, for a restaurant to offer a drink, AFTER the point of sale is completed, and then to say that the drink is not free is just tacky and nothing short of a shell game.

            Offering drinks to customers for waiting is not mandatory, however it is considerate of the business to do this. But asking you to pay after the fact is a sh!tty thing to do to a customer and I would not do repeat business with them.

        • Clyde Barrow says:

          Yeah I have and was surprised. It happens at my KFC all the time. If they’re busy and a line is waiting, they’ll offer a drink AND they mentioned that it’s at no cost. If a rep forgets to mention to me that it’s free, that’s tough.

          Could asking for money AFTER the offer and acceptance was completed (assuming no money would exchange hands by the acceptor and the offeror never bothered to mention it) be considered “Past Consideration” as in Contract Law? Maybe not but I bet you could push this idea.

          • Kitten Mittens says:

            Not if she thought her question was an offer for him to make an offer to purchase the drink…

        • Hoss says:

          Same here. I’ve dined out for 30 years and no one offered a free beverage. That covers some of the most prestigious (and pricey) restaurants around.

        • Etoiles says:

          The Chipotle near my office. I do online ordering, and they never actually make my order until I’m there to pick it up, so they always give me a cup so I can go get a drink while they’re making it.

      • Dallas_shopper says:

        About 6 months ago we went to pick up a pizza at Papa John’s; we were told it’d be about 5 more minutes and “would you like some wings while you wait?” My BF said “Sure” but I said “Only if they’re free” and the girl behind the counter laughed and said “Noooo, they’re not.” So I said “Nice try” and went outside and had a cigarette while I waited for my pizza to be done. Sheesh.

        • Rectilinear Propagation says:

          Considering how much they sell the wings for I’d have asked if they were free too.

    • danmac says:

      This sort of thing happens all the time…if a business wants to generate customer loyalty, they will do small gestures that generate good will.

      I’m reminded of a time that I went to a Peet’s Coffee in Berkeley, California and ordered a large drip coffee. They had just started brewing a new batch, so it was going to be a couple minutes. I didn’t mind, and I didn’t make a fuss. After about 5 minutes the coffee was ready. And free of charge. The barista informed me that it was store policy to make drip coffee complementary if the customer had to wait longer than a couple minutes.

      I went back many times.

      • outoftheblew says:

        Ditto. At a shop in NYC, my husband got a coffee (you get it yourself from a container). The coffee was cold, so they went to brew a new one. Except the new brew ended up with a lot of grounds in it. They kept apologizing, but we were in no rush. In the meantime, I’d planned on getting a cookie and had already eaten it by the time they finally got fresh coffee out. They gave him the coffee for free, and we tried to pay for the cookie, but they said that was free, too. So instead of thinking of it as “that place where we had to wait 10 minutes for coffee,” it’s “that place with really good customer service.”

        • Bremma says:

          I had something like this happen at a 7-11. I went with a friend and we were getting cocoa or coffee or something. Regardless, I had gotten a cup of cocoa (I dislike coffee), and when I wen to pay, they asked if I got coffee. I was out of it (taking a break from a large assignment) and I assume they meant the cup so I said yeah, and they said it was free cause the coffee was old or cold or something. I was confused, so I left, then realized I accidentally got my cocoa for free. Whoops! Was still good though :)

        • Hirayuki says:

          I bought a mug at a Starbucks in Japan and asked to have it wrapped. This is done all the time over there at pretty much any retailer; it doesn’t take long, especially when buying something small at a place like Starbucks. The clerk asked me to wait a few minutes while he took care of it, and no sooner did I wander over to browse the rest of the merchandise did the barista come over with a tray bearing a complimentary shot of espresso for me to enjoy while I waited. Very nice touch and very much appreciated.

    • Wombatish says:

      First rule of any kind of resturant. Normal (non-alcoholic/dessert) drinks are -dirt.cheap-. Soda has a huge huge profit margin because it is so cheap. The cup cost 4-5x more than the soda to fill it, and cups are already cheap.

      Water is ‘duh’ cheap. Tea is not quite as cheap as soda, but pretty darn close especially if you don’t brew anything fancy. Same with coffee.

      Drinks are a very, very common ‘comp’ thing.

      I’ve been offered a (free) drink while filling out job applications, waiting to talk to the manager about putting some flyers in a restaurant, waiting on to-go food, waiting especially long for a table, doing my training at restaurants, working at restaurants it’s ‘all you can drink’ soda/tea etc. I’ve even been offered a drink when I was making a delivery to a restaurant.

      This practice is very common. It’s encouraged by management. It’s the cheapest thing to give away and it will satisfy most people who don’t have a complaint (that’s when you usually have to progress to comp’d food or at least a very profuse and sincere apology/fixing the problem) but are just in an ‘eh’ situation (like long waits).

      Also, the fact that she didn’t specify what kind of drink and was offering it after the transaction was completed screams “free water” to me, and probably a lot of other people too. The fact of the matter is, it’s a bait and switch or she screwed up.

      It should have been “would you like to add a drink for a dollar (or w/e)” at the time she was ringing him up or even “would you like a tea for a dollar while you wait” would be decent.

    • Difdi says:

      This one local restaurant near where I live often has a line going out the door. Very good food, very popular, huge number of regulars, definitely worth the wait, as any regular knows (I know I do).

      With this in mind, the restaurant maintains a complimentary pitcher of lemonade on a table outside the door on hot days. A waitress checks it every 10-15 minutes and refills it as needed. Is it unreasonable to assume you won’t be charged for drinking lemonade while standing in line? No, it’s not unreasonable.

      If I walk up to you on the street, and offer you a can of ice cold lemonade, hand it to you, then after you open it (when it’s too late for you to give it back, since it’s already “used”), demand payment, would I be out of line? Absolutely, and for the same reason the OP is not a prick for thinking the iced tea was complimentary.

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      I’ve had to wait at restaurants before for orders and been offered a free drink while I wait. The two places I can remember are Popeye’s and Olive Garden. If you’ve already paid for the food and are sitting and waiting and they ask, “Do you want something to drink?” I assume it’s free. If they are going to charge they should ask, “Do you want to buy something to drink while you wait?”

    • jiubreyn says:

      She did this AFTER he had paid. If she is trying to “upsell” something would it not be common sense to do this prior to taking payment? Unless she’s new, she should know that it will be a hot minute while his food is being prepared. It sounds like a poor judgement call to me.

  3. shepd says:

    It’s all in the wording. As she said it, it implied it was free. If it were “Ohh, I forgot; did you want a drink with that?” then it wouldn’t be free.

  4. scratchie says:

    If he’s already paid, he’s not being unreasonable to assume that the drink is complimentary. Also, ten bucks? I hope that was one big friggen’ Italian sub.

  5. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    “While you wait” is reastaurant-ese for “On the house.”

    Any restauranrt should know this.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I wonder if that is a regional thing, since no one else has commented on it.

      Saying “…for your wait” is pretty much saying “…for your trouble” and indicative of an apologetic gesture.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        I agree with Loias that the phrasing implies that it’s complimentary but now I’m also wondering if this is a regional thing since so many people think that a restaurant offering you something free is just nutty.

        • scratchie says:

          I don’t think it’s a regional thing. I think it’s a Consumerist thing. For some reason, a large portion of the commenters on this consumer-advocacy website seem to think that any act of “customer service” besides taking the customer’s money is completely unrealistic and unheard of.

    • Hoss says:

      I’ve never heard that one before

    • teke367 says:

      When I bartended at a restaurant, we also took care of takeout. When somebody called in a takeout order, if they showed up before it was ready, I’d ask them if they would like a drink “while they wait.” I’m pretty sure I was supposed to charge them regardless, but I only would if it had alcohol, but I’d give soda for free. I don’t think anybody assumed it was free.

      Then again, I never did this after ringing up an order. I think just about no matter what was offered, if I already paid, I’d probably assume it was free if it was offer afterwards.

      • Paul Schuster says:

        As a bartender now, I often offer when people have to wait for some reason (mostly check cashing) but I have never had a situation where the person assumed it was on the house. Though like you I almost always never charge for gun soda in those situations, though everyone always offers. Drinks on the other hand are normally charged. As an aside we don’t serve food where I work.

  6. ShruggingGalt says:

    Did the place have a bar? I’ve been to places like that – they offer you a drink while you wait for their pizza/take-out and I never assumed that the drink would be “on the house”.

    • Shadowman615 says:

      If it were an alcoholic beverage I think that would be a completely different story.

    • shell_beach says:

      ive never heard of a bar handing out lets say gin and tonics to anyone who answers the question want a drink while you wait.

      at a bar, you have to ORDER a drink by asking for it by name.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Hmm…I can see how it would be different if he sat down at the bar. But even then I’ve always heard the bartender ask “Would you like to buy a drink” or “Did you want to buy a drink”. Could be a regional thing but they’ve always been clear that you’d be paying for it.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Hmm…I can see how it would be different if he sat down at the bar. But even then I’ve always heard the bartender ask “Would you like to buy a drink” or “Did you want to buy a drink”. Could be a regional thing but they’ve always been clear that you’d be paying for it.

  7. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Is there such thing as a “downsell”, and can we as consumers give it to the upseller?

    • diggabledork says:

      I often reply to up-sells with counter-offers, only seldom to any effect beyond the confusion or amusement of the staff.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:


      • Tim says:

        Nah. An upsell offers an additional item for an additional charge (or a larger item, or what have you). So the downsell would have to be offering to take something off your order.

        “Would you like me to not get the drink? It’s only $2 less, and that’s 20 oz of soda that you get to keep!”

    • trentblase says:

      That’s brilliant!

      Me: I’d like two tacos, please.
      Cashier: Would you like drink with that?
      Me: Actually, just make it one taco.

      • outoftheblew says:

        Cashier: Will there be anything else?
        Me: Actually, nevermind, I think I’ll go someplace else.

        Except I’d never get to eat another restaurant meal in my life.

        • Conformist138 says:

          That isn’t an upsell. An upsell is usually a push for a more specific item, often dictated by the bosses. Asking if there’s anything else you would like is just clarification before closing the transaction.

          • consumerfan says:

            More than that. As a customer, I want them to ask “Will there by anything else?”, to verify that I’ve finished ordering and it also prompts me to check if I need condiments, utensils, side orders or drinks.

      • Difdi says:


        Perhaps “I find upsells everywhere I go offensive, so I always cancel my order when I get one. Have a nice day.”

    • uberbitter says:

      Yes, it’s called leaving whenever I feel a place is being too pushy or underhanded and never returning.

  8. Jevia says:

    Maybe she was hoping for another tip? I thought that was generous, since he ordered at a counter and the food was to go.

  9. sufreak says:

    I agree that she worded it wrong. But I wouldn’t have complained over 1.75. I would have just sucked it up, learned my lesson and enjoyed a drink. Theres a difference between being standing up for your rights and being a downright annoying person.

    • UltimateOutsider says:

      Sorry, it’s an alienating practice. For every customer who gets burned on this and refuses, there are probably 10 who sheepishly pay for the drink and decide to never visit the restaurant again.

      • George4478 says:

        That’s my opinion also. It doesn’t matter if someone/place actually is trying to cheat (or nickel-and-dime or mislead, etc) me or not; what matters to me is if I think they were trying to.

        A local sub shop hit me with what I thought was a deceptive practice. I complained at the time and got brushed off. I went from a once-a-week customer to once-in-the-past-two-years. I can get subs in lots of places.

        Sure, I’ll pay the $1.75 and you’ll never see me again.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Is complaining that you were misled any more annoying than someone misleading you?

      Besides, you can say that there was some confusion without making it a big deal. You don’t have to be annoying about it just because you say something.

    • Twonkey says:

      That’s just a retarded stance to take for this situation, sufreak. The woman was clearly in the wrong, and it’s not being annoying to refuse to pay for something that was offered to you after you’ve already paid for the shit you asked for.

  10. LaurelHS says:

    If you get offered a drink in this manner at a restaurant, casually ask how much it costs before you accept it. Don’t just assume that it’s free.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      I’ll keep that in mind now, but I likely would have fallen into the same trap. Probably would have paid and grumbled afterwards….

  11. jsl4980 says:

    I wouldn’t assume it’s free unless they specified that it was. Even if it was free I’d still tip her however much a soda/tea normally costs.

    • RandomHookup says:

      If you offer me a free drink, I’m tipping as usual, not paying the full price. Not much of a gift otherwise and seems like a way for the server to give me a freebie and pocket the price for himself.

  12. agent 47 says:

    $10.45 for a sub? Where in the hell do you live, the future?

  13. madtube says:

    My wife and I used to get food from this really great local pizza joint when we lived in Clearwater. There were a few occasions when I showed up to pick up our food that I had to wait because they got a little busy. Every time that happened, they offered me a fountain drink gratis. It was always a nice gesture, and that is one of the reasons that place was one of our favorites.

  14. lv_spiff says:

    I had a guy do this to me at a Pei Wei – ordered my food online and showed up and it wasn’t ready so I paid and sat down to wait. Well a guy that works there comes over and says “would you like a cup while you wait?” I said sure so i went and grabbed a coke from the fountains. I come back and food comes out 5 mins later so I hand him back the cup and the guy was like “well i have to charge you because you got coke and not water” – long story short end up calling over the manager and the manager apologizing profusely to me and then as I’m walking out the door I get to hear the manager going off in asian at the guy :D

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      In Asian? Seriously, dude?

      • NarcolepticGirl says:

        I noticed that, too

      • trentblase says:

        Well, maybe if the manager had gone off in European, the guy could have identified the specific language. But since he doesn’t understand Asian, he had to generalize?

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          I’m sure it was just a writing fail on his part; I just thought it was a little absurd to say “in Asian” when “in an Asian language” is really just as easy, much clearer, and wouldn’t make you look like an idiot.

          • trentblase says:

            He also said “long story short end up calling over the manager” when “long story short >>I

            I wouldn’t have been able to identify the Asian language either, as I only understand white.

      • RStormgull says:

        Eh… I understand his feelings though. I’ve known a lot of Asian people who get really really mad if you say Chinese and they’re Korean. So if he said Chinese, I’d expect half a dozen people to pipe in with “OMG, you assume all Asians are Chinese! You’re a racist!”

        • RandomHookup says:

          A lot of other ways to say it…”in another language”, “in what was probably Chinese”, “in some Asian language”, “in something I couldn’t understand”… I’m guessing it was probably “Hindu” or “Kanji”.

          • Dallas_shopper says:

            “A lot of other ways to say it…”in another language”, “in what was probably Chinese”, “in some Asian language”, “in something I couldn’t understand”… I’m guessing it was probably “Hindu” or “Kanji”.”

            “Hindu” is not a language, it’s a religion. I think you’re thinking of “Hindi.”

            “Kanji” is not a language either; it is what you call Chinese characters in Japanese writing (as opposed to hiragana and katakana).

            If you’re going to be condescending, at least be condescending…correctly!

      • shadowboxer524 says:

        The only thing that matters is that the guy wasn’t talkin’ Amurrican!

    • anime_runs_my_life says:

      Not an isolated incident. The Pei Wei by my house did this once and I’ve never been back; I don’t like being duped while I’m waiting for my food to go. Stir Crazy, however, will give you unlimited refills while you wait for your food to go.

    • Madman says:

      I have ordered carry out from Pei Wei a number of times and have been offered a free drink while a wait several times. Interesting if this is an outlet by outlet kind of deal.

    • dadelus says:

      That sucks, I love my local Pei Wei. I drove past it all the time while they were setting up and had never heard of it so I wanted to check it out. One day the wife and I saw cars in the parking lot so decided to go there for lunch. We got to the door and it was locked so we headed back to the car.

      Before we got in the car the manager stepped out and explained they were doing their “kitchen test” and asked if we would like to come in and try out the food. We said sure. They took our food and drink orders and while we waited for our food the waiters kept bringing out all sorts of stuff the cooks were preparing. We got our food, a bunch of food we didn’t order, and drinks (including beer and wine) all at no charge. We have since been back several times both dine-in and carry out and the service has always been great.

  15. humphrmi says:

    Given the way it was offered, I would have also interpreted it as a free drink while I wait. Although I’ve never actually experienced any fast food joint offering one. Nice sit-down, table service restaurants are a different story – if my food is taking longer than expected to be prepared, I expect to be kept hydrated while I wait.

    • cheezfri says:

      “I expect to be kept hydrated while I wait.”

      Really? You expect a lot. That being said, I’ve been to several restaurants and was offered a drink since I had to wait. They were all free. So yes, I would have interpreted a subsequent offer as a free one. Especially if I had already paid for the food. In other situations not involving food, when I am offered something, I always ask how much. 90% of the time it’s free, but because of the 10% when it’s not, I sure am glad I asked!

  16. octowussy says:

    It’s a PIZZA SHOP. What planet is this person from where they think their local pizza shop would offer them a complimentary drink (an item which carries one of the highest markups ever, and therefore makes up a large percentage of their profits)? Trying to upsell after money has changed hands is weird, but not as weird as expecting free drinks at a pizza place. So the reader should have brought it up at the pizza shop and offered up a suggestion rather than look for sympathy on the Internet.

    • scratchie says:

      Um, the planet where restaurants offer complimentary items “while you wait”? If they’re charging ten bucks for a sub, it sounds like a pretty upscale pizza place anyway.

    • trentblase says:

      The other way of looking at the high profit margin of soft drinks is that offering a complimentary one costs them ALMOST NOTHING and it’s therefore entirely reasonable to think they may do so at such low cost to themselves to make a customer happy — a customer who they already know would not otherwise buy the soda because the transaction was complete.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      The expectation comes because the money had already exchanged hands. If THEY offer, it’s safe to assume it is free. The original deal is done, offer + acceptance = consideration. Done deal. Over. Any new offer needs to be clearly outlined and if they do not say we want money for it, that’s their problem . it’s clearly an assumption that they willing to help out customer’s so instead of sitting without something to drink, they offer one to pass the time. Why on earth would I offer a drink a customer that just ordered and paid, and then say, oh by the way, that drink that I OFFERED to you to sit and wait? Well it costs a buck. That just shows a business is ungrateful to its customers.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Um, planet Earth?

      Sorry the pizza places where you live suck.

    • Scoobatz says:

      You just answered your own question. There’s an incredible amount of markup on soda that offering a free one to a customer who may be waiting longer than normal to pick up something has no impact to the restaurant. While you’re giving the patron a free drink worth $1.75, it may be costing you less than 20 cents. Seems like a nice gesture to me.

      • Blueberry Scone says:

        Exactly! Many restaurants would rather eat the cost of the drink so they can keep the customer happy (and happy customers are more likely to return).

        This thread has a lot of examples of restaurants that made the simple gesture of offering their customers a free drink while they waited for their order – and it made those customers much happier.

        In the OP’s shoes, I would have thought this was a free drink, too. I think the counterperson just forgot to upsell; she could have just said “Oh, I forgot to ask – did you want a drink with that?”

  17. Murph1908 says:

    Really sounds like a hospitality gesture to me.

  18. Destron says:

    My local Pizza shop gives you free drinks if you have to wait on a to go order, they even have special cups for it, they are smaller and green. They are not to go cups but still – if you have to wait 15 min a free drink is nice.

  19. Skid Malfoy says:

    If she asked you if you wanted a “drink” why would she just bring it upon herself to give you a tea? Makes no sense and no I wouldn’t pay.

  20. Skyyscraper says:

    Who hasn’t had something similar to this happen to them? You’re at a restaurant and they ask you if you want sour cream on your baked potato, you say yes only to find out it’s an additional fifty cents when you get the bill. I think the burden should be on the business to make it clear – i.e. the question should be “Would you also like to buy x” not, “Would you like x.”

    • georgi55 says:

      Sour cream on baked potatoes – OK 50 cents, but a local texmex place charges extra for cheese and sour cream when you buy fajitas, and they are not cheap-o place either, even TGI Friday’s $12 Fajitas get you cheese and sour cream for free!

  21. tellervision says:

    The Pei Wei near me gives a free to-go cup while you wait so essentially you get a free soda with every carry out order.

  22. jacques says:

    Once the payment transaction’s over, anything offered I would consider free. I’ve been to more than a few take-out places that will comp a soda if the order is delayed. If the store were jerks about making me pay for the $1.75 in this case, I’d use my AmEx, since it has a high swipe fee for the merchant.

  23. ophmarketing says:

    The bigger question I have is why you would add a $1 tip for counter service take out.

  24. menty666 says:

    The martini in the bar while I wait for my table at restaurant isn’t free, why would this be?

  25. Dallas_shopper says:

    I can’t believe they still do that. I fell for that one years ago and my response to it (though I seldom hear it nowadays) is “only if it’s free.”

  26. Scoobatz says:

    I think it’s unreasonable to suggest that a restaurant would give you a free drink. However, based on the sequence of events and the specific wording used by the counter person, I agree this drink should have been complimentary.

    On a related note, I get upset when waiters offer to refill your soft drink, only to find out that refills are not free. That’s not cool.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      I think it’s unreasonable to suggest that a restaurant would give you a free drink.

      I’m surprised by the number of people here who’ve never been offered a complimentary drink.

      • Scoobatz says:

        Poorly worded, perhaps. I meant to say that restaurants are not in the business of giving away free drinks. However, based on the situation, sequence of events, and the tone/wording used by the counter person, I would have assumed the drink was free. Many times I have been given a complimentary drink while I waited for something. There’s even a sushi restaurant I go to where the chef sometimes offers me free samples while I wait for my order. Little gestures like this go a long way.

        • scratchie says:

          Smart restaurants are in the business of keeping their customers happy, as much as they’re in the business of selling them food. If they can make someone happy by giving them 5c worth of soda, they’re very smart to do so.

  27. sp00nix says:

    Me and a buddy were enjoying a meal at McDumpsters and my buddy decided he wanted a sweet tea. he goes and asks for it and gets handed a cup, he asked if they wanted the $$ and they replied with a “Don’t worry about it”


  28. SonarTech52 says:

    I would have assumed it was free due; to the card already being charged, and she said would you like a drink, then gave a tea without specifying what kind of drink.. No choice = free

  29. jvanbrecht says:

    I have never had this problem at Chipotle. I used to order online via my iphone (damn chipotle for not having an android app which is what I have now). If my order was not ready when I got to the store, they gave me a free soda to drink while I waited. Regardless of whether or not I arrived before the expected ready time.

  30. adamczar says:

    The “while you wait” kind of makes it sound complimentary, but I would be suspicious if they gave me a choice about what I wanted. If someone asked me “do you want a drink while you wait?”, I’d expect to get handed water. If they asked what kind of drink I wanted, I might say, “oh… wait, is this free or what?”

  31. Hoss says:

    There must have been conversation in between “would you like a drink while you wait” and “here’s your tea”. I would expect she asked what would you like? So I would not expect “what would you like” to include a free bottle of pricey juice or a liter of soda.

  32. COBBCITY says:

    Sounds like a kid who is trying to earn point by up selling and is clueless than when a restaurant says “Would you like a drink while you wait?” they mean COMPLEMENTARY. Not cool at all. I am glad she backed off the charge, but how awkward.

  33. f5alcon says:

    i get offered free drinks a lot, i eat out at the same 5 places every week, so as a regular they offer me free drinks while i wait, knowing that they make money off me in the long run, so i would assume it was free as well.

  34. P_Smith says:

    There are only two rules needed for what customers have to pay for:

    1) If the customer asks for it, the customer for it.

    2) If the customer doesn’t ask for it and the employees offers it, it’s free.

    Anything they try give customers unsolicited is free, just like samples in a supermarket. If they want customers to pay for it, they should have waited until it’s requested.


  35. lacklustermusings says:

    As someone who works at Panera Bread, if I said “Would you like a drink while you wait” to a customer, I would definitely be talking about a complimentary drink. The customer was not unreasonable for thinking the drink would be free.

  36. Twonkey says:

    I’ve had “counter persons” offer me free drinks while I wait before, so I probably would have assumed that was the case if I were in the OP’s shoes. Especially if it had been offered to me after I already paid.

  37. jimmyhl says:

    Lighten up Francis.

  38. bwcbwc says:


  39. hotcocoa says:

    I think people are feigning ignorance on posts like these. When I go to Blockbuster and the clerk asks me if I’d like popcorn with my movie, I don’t take the bag and think it’s free. It’s obviously an upsell. When you’re at Burger King and they ask you if you want cheese with your hamburger, that’s not free either. None of us were born yesterday…if you’re in a place of business that wants your moolah, it’s safe to think that they aren’t going to give you something for free for no reason. I think the person who sent this in should have used a little common sense.

  40. VouxCroux says:

    Todd sounds like an idiot. Unless the server says “complimentary,” never assume it is.

  41. mowz says:

    I was waiting on an order of wings at Popeye’s earlier this week. They had run out so I had to wait about 5 minutes for some fresh ones. The girl who took my order threw in an extra wing and apologized for the wait. That location earned a repeat customer.

  42. phallusu says:

    once, the receipt is signed etc – it just reeks of fraud to try to tack on charges

    i think the tip on a takeout order also was not called for but very nice to offer

  43. consumeristjames says:

    could be worse: I went to Subway awhile ago, ordered two 12″ subs and asked for two water cups. The bill seemed suspiciously high, and when I checked out I was not offered a receipt until I asked for it. Then I learned why: they snuck a 50 charge for each cup of water.

    When I asked about being charged for water they said that was their price and pointed to their menu. I asked them to point to it on the menu and they looked up there for a few seconds, admitted that it wasn’t on their menu and then said “Every place charges for water” (not true at all in this area). I gave them a piece of my mind and left and haven’t been to subway since.

    $1 to lose a customer for life? Seems pretty silly if you ask me, not to mention all the people I’ve told this story to.

  44. areaman says:

    Where is this place?

    They should post it so people can go there and ‘poach’ drinks from them. LOL

  45. BillyDeeCT says:

    When I go to my local KFC and order a quantity of chicken (and have to wait when they don’t have enough on hand being evening hours) I’ve been offered a courtesy beverage and it’s been on them. It sounds like the shop in question was just being sleazy. KFC actually gets thumbs up on this one.