Yesterday I met up with two other teachers from Cultura Inglesa to have lunch. One teacher is American and the other is Brazilian. The original place we wanted to eat was too expensive so we decided to try out this crepe restaurant where I had eaten twice before. The other times I ate there, I had excellent food and service, so I figured it would be a good place to eat. Plus it was within walking distance of where we met up.
Everything was perfect...the food was amazing, we had a great bottle of wine and fun conversation. Then the bill came. We were shocked to see that not only had they put 2 extra waters on the bill (this is a common technique here to try to get money out of folks without them noticing, and I wondered when I first got here why people here look at the bill so carefully!), but that the bottle of wine we had cost R$87! We originally asked for a bottle that was R$35, and the woman said they were out of that bottle. The waiter brought another one to show us, and I just saw the name of the grape and thought it was the same one on the menu that cost R$45. Well, turns out it was the same grape but a different, more expensive brand. They just figured they would not show us the price, offer us the wine and then hope that we would not look carefully at the bill.
We were all pretty mad, and the Brazilian teacher told the woman that it wasn't right to do that. He asked to speak to the manager, and turns out it was her. She didn't want to do anything to console us, so we took the only course of action that we could, which was not to pay the tip. It is a lot more common here not to pay the tip when things go wrong than it is in the US, so we didn't feel bad about it. But then, as we were standing outside saying our goodbyes, the manager actually had the nerve to come out and tell us that we still owed her R$.80!
When I told Vilma about the situation, she said, "Eles fizeram um golpe", which means roughly "They hit you". It's a good description of what happened, that's for sure. All I know is that I will never go back to that place again. Bastards.