Sunday, December 31, 2006

$50 for two beers!

Date of Incident: Sun. Dec. 30, 2006 at 4:45p.
Place of Incident: Latino Bar, Nagoya, Japan

My friend and I were visiting Nagoya, Japan and stopped in a local bar on one of the main streets for a beer.

When we entered the bar, we mentioned to the waiter that we were just having a beer and would leave right away. He seemed to understand what we said, but later brought a few menus over. We also noticed that they were preparing a buffet as well as it appeared that they were going to have a band play.

We ordered our beers; one Guinness and local brew. They had no Guinness on tap, so we just got two local brews. Once finished, we asked for the check and was shocked when we saw the price. It was 5,720 YEN!

I tried to see why it so much and noticed that we were charged 4,000 YEN as a cover charge. We tried to explain to the guy that we were not aware of a cover charge and also told him that we were onyl having two beers when we walked in. This did not translate well, so we paid and left. He gave us change back from the 6,000 YEN we gave him, but we left it. By default they had already included 10% tip in the bill.

As we walked away, we were really pissed off at beign overcharged. We figured that at the hotel, we would ask for the contact information for the Visitor's Bureau as this would not go unreported.

We stopped and talked with the Concierge, with whom we had developed a very good rapport and also showed her the bill. She was upset and called the bar immediately. After about 5 minutes, she paused and explained to us that there was a cover charge and that it used to be 1,000 YEN, but had increased to 2,000 YEN per person. So they had to enter 4 x 1,000 in oder to charge us since their machines were not updated as yet.

We then explained to her further that we had a beer and was there for about 15 minutes before the band started. As a matter of fact, one of the band memebrs had showed up while we had our drink and was setting up. She then got back on the phone with the bar for another 7 minutes or so.

When she got off the phone, she told us to go and collect our 4,000 YEN. My friend did not want to go as he was really pissed off, so I went and collected it.

When I got there, the manager was apologetic and handed me the money right away. Through another staff member, I communicated to him that he should not to blame the waiter as I think it was just a mis-understanding due to the language. He did this in my presence. He also told the translator staff member to tell me that we should visit again.

I took the money, bowed to them and left.

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