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Diner Refuses to Pay for Dinner and Claims "False Advertising" to Justify It



Most people who dine out on occasion have been less than satisfied by their meal. Whether the food wasn't to your liking, you waited forever to be served, or you left feeling hungry despite the size of your bill, you probably paid, right? Right? 

Well, a guy on reddit claims he had a right to refuse payment after dining at an upscale new restaurant because they committed "false advertising."

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The post in the popular "Am I the A-hole" subreddit was authored under the likely throwaway account "GimmeBigSteak," who makes it clear he was reluctant to visit a restaurant his girlfriend had been excited to try, saying it seems like "one of those hipster places" in a dismissive tone.

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Right away, he's irritated at the prices on the menu and complains, "every dish is more than $15-$20 and half the ingredients I've never heard of." Despite feeling out of his element, "GimmeBigSteak" orders, you guessed it, a steak — specifically the bison steak, valued at $26, while his girlfriend ordered "some weird pasta, noki I think" for $18. Based on context I'm guessing what his girlfriend ordered is gnocchi, a potato-based dumpling that is fairly common among Italian pasta menus.

Even before the food arrives, this diner is clearly not happy with his choice of establishment. He doesn't like the prices, the ingredients aren't foods he's familiar with, and he's already mentally racking up the bill at "over $60, which is already ridiculous for dinner for two people." I don't know where this poster lives and admit that the cost of living in the U.S. varies a lot, but $60 for dinner, drinks, and tip for two people sounds reasonable to me. But I also recognize I live in an expensive city and that this might indeed be a very expensive price point in his neck of the woods.

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When the food arrives, our diner's spirits don't improve, as he sees "six small pieces of sliced steak with some weird sauce on the side and a small handful of salad." He jokingly asks the server, "where's the rest of my steak," and I'm sure anyone who has waited tables in a similar type of restaurant is rolling their eyes right now. But true to his screen name, "GimmeBigSteak" has much grander expectations when it comes to portions. "I expect an entree to fill me up and be enough for leftovers," he says.

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He also thinks his girlfriend's portion is too small, with "maybe 12 pieces of [gnocchi] dressed up with some frou frou bulls--t." And while he concedes that everything tastes "pretty good," he's incensed over the portion sizes and complains loudly, much to his girlfriend's annoyance. 

Despite eating everything, he informs the waiter they won't be paying, embarrassing his (ex?) girlfriend even further.

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He tells the waiter they are "falsely advertising entrees that barely qualify as a light snack." While his girlfriend "begged" him to stop, he justifies his behavior by saying "I don't let businesses push me around and rip me off." 

Understandably, the manager asks the couple to leave, and "GimmeBigSteak" does indeed get a free meal — but at what cost? While he feels certain the restaurant "realized I called them out on their [BS]," it seems it may now be dawning on him that he's actually the bad guy in this situation.

"My girlfriend is silent the entire time on the way back," he says, and when he drove through McDonald's, that seemed to be the final straw for her. She asked to be dropped home instead of coming back to his place. 

"It’s now the next day and I’m starting to think I didn’t handle the situation as well as I could have," he concedes, though he thinks he would still have been entitled to a discount on the meal. 

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Well, the people of reddit have confirmed his suspicions and unequivocally deemed him the bad guy in this situation. "So you ate the food and then refused to pay?" said a top commenter. Most people agreed that you don't really have a leg to stand on if you eat the entirety of a meal and then want to complain you are unhappy with it. Clearly, this isn't the kind of restaurant "GimmeBigSteak" enjoys and that's OK — but it's not OK to stiff the hardworking restaurant staff who cooked, served, and cleaned up after your meal.

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People also suggested that the problem wasn't with the portions but with OP's expectations. It seems clear he's more accustomed to large chain restaurants that have oversized portions and steakhouses that sell massive steaks. One commenter pointed out that a dozen gnocchi is "actually pretty filling," and another pointed out that the "six pieces of steak" probably came out to be an 8 oz steak. And according to dietitians, a serving of meat is half that.

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Still others couldn't get over his unfamiliarity with and spelling of gnocchi. "If it's available at Olive Garden, it isn't fancy or weird," says one commenter. And speaking of Olive Garden, many pointed out that the menu prices he complained about are pretty much in line with what you'd expect at the major Italian chain. In fact, I checked prices at a chain steakhouse in North Carolina, where minimum wage is $7.25, and the only steaks that cost less than $15 were a 6 oz sirloin and an 8 ounce flat iron.

Still, even if GimmeBigSteak had expected steakhouse portions, people rightly point out that failing to live up to one person's expectations isn't "false advertising" in any sense. 

"False advertising would be a photo of a 12 oz steak and a loaded baked potato next to the item on the menu," one wrote. "This is just you being ignorant about the choice in restaurant you made. Suck it up and take the L."

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There are several victims in this tale — the restaurant, its employees, and this dine-and-dasher's girlfriend. But not GimmeBigSteak. And the general consensus among readers is a deep and abiding hope that his girlfriend decided to take her L and call it a day on that relationship. "This would be one of those moments that would make me reconsider being his girlfriend," wrote one commenter who called it a "massive red flag."

Another said, "It if was me, I would go back the next day, apologize for my ex-boyfriend's behavior, and pay for the food." That commenter is a real one. If this hopefully now-single woman did the same, she's sure to find someone of her caliber sooner or later.

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