The best thing about being infamous, is that you can still complain in a public place! Like a ridiculously overpriced, gouge you at every opportunity restaurant.

Driving from Tucson to Las Vegas, we listened to Steve Martin‘s “Born Standing Up“. A very candid autobiography of this comedian’s life.

Steve talks about his long, hard path to hitting it gigantor. I mean, he sold out stadiums of 40 thousand people!

He thought his first time on Johnny Carson would have taken him to easy street after a decade in the biz.  But after the 16th time on Carson, he still was struggling to pay bills! It took the leap of superstardom, from very hard work, and getting lucky with a great press article in Miami.

Then he got so famous that he could not be left alone. When he went to the hospital for what he thought was a heart attack, the nurse asked him to sign his EKG for her. I highly recommend the read or listen – Steve narrates, himself.

So, what does this have to do with my dinner last night? Well, I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the bill….but no, that’s not it.

It’s being not famous…(thinking the Grammy nomination would boost my income to not care if a bill is a complete rip-off)…and being able to complain! If I were recognized, and bitched about it, it would be spread like wild fire, and then it would get to the press, and I would be known as a bitch – just because they charged us fifty dollars for WATER.

Okay. So, first of all, the food is superb. It’s Japanese fusion. A mix of Japanese cuisine and high prices, and very small portions. 1 order of eggplant with miso (which is one 4 inch long piece of eggplant sliced in half the long way) served on a huge plate. But the food is to die for!

When we arrived they asked what kind of water we wanted, the head of our party of 9 people asked for bottled water. They brought over a small bottle of fuji water and proceeded to split it amongst the 9 glasses. We also had wine and sake.

I noticed that bottles of water kept coming. After the 5th bottle was brought to the table, I asked loud enough for the wait staff to hear, “Does anyone here keep asking for more water?” I looked around, no response, and 9 glasses filled with water. And I shared my observations with the table, annoyed that the establishment didn’t bother to ask, and obviously does it to jack up the bill.

So, the bill comes, and our beverage bill is 300 dollars. The tip was already added to the bill @20% of the entire bill. So, they had the balls to add sixty dollars of tip, just for the wine and water. Ballsy. The tip was 143.00.

And I tip generously, but for 130 dollar of wine, I do not calculate 20% of the value of the wine. If we had ordered a 30 dollar bottle of wine, (which didn’t exist there…maybe 1 glass), the tip on bringing that bottle all the way to the table would have been 6 dollars, instead of 26.

Who’s going to say something? Me, naturally.

Excuse me, but you add 20% to the wine as well as the waters you kept bringing without us asking?

“It’s our policy” He said like a robot, without giving a shit, knowing it is their policy to stick it to the customer. I said, “well, did we ask for the waters?”

Response, “It’s our policy to make sure the water glasses are full.”

Yeah, you are full of something.

Now why didn’t I say anything sooner, when I observed them bringing these bottles of water to the table, or insist and persist that they take off that extra 20% for the booze?

The punch line is, get this, our tab was on the house of the casino, cuz we were with big spenders on the black jack table, (obviously not me.) But the restaurant didn’t know that, and it’s the principle.

But the happy ending, besides the free, orgasmic meal,  is that I told them it was inappropriate to keep bringing water and charge us 20% on the wine and sake, and they didn’t know who I was! If it was Steve Martin, he couldn’t complain….oh yeah, he doesn’t care, he’s loaded!

So, the question is, would I rather be not famous, not rich, Grammy nominee and be able to complain? Or be Grammy winner Steve Martin?STEVE MARTIN



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Linda Chorney

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July 2013
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