Yesterday a few of us went up to Chicago just for fun, and for Malaysians, no trip to Chicago is complete without dinner or lunch at the PENANG Malaysian restaurant at the entrance of Chinatown. We ordered Nyonya Tofu, Assam fish (which we didn’t know cost > $20), kangkung belacan, and beef rendang, along with chicken rice rice 😉 Anyways, the food was pretty good, and I already kinda knew what to expect as it was probably my 3rd or 4th time there. Praveen, Winnie’s classmate who also drove us there, also ordered some stuff to go for his roommates.
When the bill came though, it was about $140 with about $20 gratuity on top of that. Why were we charged gratuity? There were only 4 of us! And we also shouldn’t be charged tips for to-go food…..So Praveen went up to the guy who handed us the bill, and eventually was sent to a lady manager. She then said to another waitress, “他们本来有六个人， 过后四个就走到后面的桌子去了。” (“they had 6 people at first, and later on 2 of them went to the table behind them”). Then, to her astonishment, Praveen replied in Chinese that that wasn’t the case (he’s singaporean, btw). They were pretty much forced to take away the gratuity at that point, and we ended up giving them barely more than 10% tips for our troubles.
Granted, there was a table of other people we knew sitting behind us, but only one of them came and sat with us (she didn’t order anything) and none of us went over to their table. And, the restaurant was pretty packed that night. Still, what annoyed me was how they came up with the “theory” that there were 6 of us and that 2 left….why not 5 to 2 instead? Makes me wonder if they always take advantage of such situations to charge gratuity. I also wonder if they try to charge gratuity for to-gos all the time. If anything, it DOES sound alot like a Malaysian “get what you can out of the customer” business attitude. They also could’ve been more apologetic.
Bottom line is, just remember to check through your receipt the next time you’re there.