A few days ago, I went to Oriental Manor, and on the way in, I quickly glanced at the special list that they now post near the door. (By the way, kudos to them for now posting the specials in English as well as Chinese! - the "not for Anglos" posting of specials is another pet peeve) Anyway, the eel and roast pork special caught my eye, but I should have read closer - I read the price for the special above it on the list, and missed the word "seasonal" that was posted instead of a price for the eel and pork. To make a long story short, the dinner bill was about 3 times what I expected.
In this instance, shame on me - I fully admit that I should have read the posted sign more closely. That said, however, the tendency of many places to not mention the price of specials or "market price" items, especially when the price is multiples of the average dinner, rather than a few bucks more, is a major peeve of mine. There's some point at which the price difference between the average dinner and the price of the special, or even between the highest priced item on the menu and the special, is significant enough to warrant mention and confirmation with the diner. Whether one believes that point is $5 more than the average price or 3 times the highest listed dinner price, at *some* point, the price of a special should warrant mention, in my opinion.
In the interests of warning the unwary (or the tired, distracted, or otherwise vulnerable), what's the worst case of "tonight's special" sticker shock that you've experienced in the area? And what are the places that seem to be "repeat offenders" when it comes to having extravagantly priced specials, and not mentioning the price at the time of order?
And as always, the best rule may be that if you don't hear or read the price, don't order it, or if you do order, don't be surprised when you get the bill. That still doesn't help folks like me who read the wrong line for the price, though! ;-)