Yesterday was my birthday and I chose to go to Westward for my birthday dinner. It seemed a solid enough choice and had a nice view of Lake Union and generally good reviews.

Ennie called in a reservation. We got one at 8:00 on Thursday, June 1, my birthday. No problems so far.

We show up at 7:55 and check in with the hostess.

“It’ll just be another 10 minutes… you can sit outside and get a drink.”

Ok. Normal stuff. We sit outside and order a couple of Manhattans. They are certainly tasty.

At 8:30 En goes in to see if they’ve forgotten about us.

“We’re having trouble with a table that’s been camping out…”

At 8:40 I was ready to pull the trigger to just go somewhere else when they finally came to fetch us.

Now keep in mind this is a Thursday. This is not a peak day of the week in summer. This is an overcast late spring day on a Thursday.

“Don’t worry, the first round is on us,” the hostess says.

We ordered a round of beers and dinner. I got the black cod for $30 and En gets the lamb at $37.

The cod was a 3 x 3 x 3/4 slice of fish with some random veggies that were slapped on a grill. Tasty, but underwhelming, certainly for $30. En’s lamb was good as well, and it was at least big enough that I was able to pick off her plate to actually get sated.

If the night ended there I wouldn’t be writing this post.

The check comes out for $103.49. The first round of drinks at $14 each was off the check as promised. I put down my AmEx and the waitress was off with the card.

In the intervening time, a different hostess comes around with another check. This one for $117.81. “Because it’s your birthday and you waited so long we took the beers off.”

Odd.

I look at my phone.

My card got swiped for $117.81.

What the serious fuck. I put my card down on one number and they swiped it for a different number without even coming back and apologizing.

Not only is this rude as hell, it’s also against any terms of service they’ve ever signed with any credit card company.

The waitress comes back with my credit card and lo and behold, there’s a different bill enclosed.

I pointed out what they did was fraud.

She managed to fix the bill, void the original charge and come back with the first check again. She mentioned something about a miscommunication, and manager something or other and blah blah blah.

No. That’s not what you do as a waiter or waitress at a relatively high-end place. You fight for your customer. You go up to the next manager. If worse comes to worse you come back with a corrected bill and apologize profusely and throw yourself on the nearest sword before you charge a card.

I’m not as much minding that they screwed up the service, or that food was good but way overpriced. No. To charge someone a different amount than what’s on the check?

Seriously? I’ve had bad service and shitty food. Up until now, I’ve not had a restaurant try to commit credit card fraud.

Thanks, Westward, for lowering the bar lower than I’ve ever encountered in the past.