I freely admit that I rarely scrutinize the bill when I am dining out or even having a few drinks at the bar. I usually glance at the total and then hand over my card or cash.
My husband on the other hand goes over the bill in detail. Drive me crazy but you pick your battles, right?
We have been out to eat probably about 20-25 times since school started in early Sept. Usually they are pretty casual/local places before or after our sons hockey game but at least a handful of times were in "better", more upscale places-again all pretty local thought a few local chains (for Boston folks think Rustic Kitchen or Burtons).
Back in October my husband noticed that we were charged for two additional cocktails we didn't have. The server blamed the bar service for putting someones else bar bill on our dinner check. Sounded suspicious but he took it off and we went on our way. Before thanksgiving we found our bill charged us for a much higher priced steak entree than what we had ordered. The server (different place) said it was a computer error, was very nice about it and removed the higher charge. In both these cases I don't think I would have caught it as the dollar amounts were minor compared to the grand total.
So last night I was out with girlfriend to place we have been a few times before. We each had a cosmo ($12 ea) a glass of wine ($10/glass) we spit an appetizer ($12) and then split a (really great!) pizza ($15). When the bill came it was just under $100 so even I gave pause. When we asked our server she said that unless specified they use their top shelf vodka so the cosmos were $15 each not $12 as listed on the menu and there was a $15 splitting charge (not listed on the menu and we have been there before with no splitting charge). When we questioned the charges, she became very flustered, left and then came back with a manager who made a big deal about removing the charges, how he was making an exception "just this once", blah blah blah.
Granted these are just 3 meals across many but my husband swears that this is a regular occurrence. He said when they see parents with kids (who most likely will rush), people having a few drinks, big business lunches or basically any party that appears they wont be paying too much attention they server has an opportunity to take advantage and many of them will since they can easily place the blame elsewhere if caught.
I don't know, I guess I like to believe most people are honest and that on the rare times it happens it is just error. Am I being naive?