Thursday, November 6, 2008

on being cheap at a nice restaurant

I admit it. I do love to save money. While I wouldn't necessarily call myself a penny pincher, it does make my day to stumble into a bargain. And I try to take advantage of nearly every deal that I discover.... case in point last Friday night.

I mentioned that Brad and I celebrated my one-year anniversary of freedom at one of our favorite restaurants on Capitol Hill. When I visited Two Quail's web site earlier that day to look for the phone number, I saw a nondescript link tucked away in the corner on the home page that said "specials" or something like that. Thinking that it would include the featured appetizer, entree, and dessert of the day, I clicked on it. Instead, I discovered a coupon for a free entree with the purchase of one.

I was overjoyed! But I immediately felt a little embarrassed at the thought of using a coupon at a nice restaurant. Two Quail's prices aren't outrageous, but it's expensive enough that we only dine there on special occasions. Two salads, entrees, and beverages can easily cost a couple over $100.

To avoid some of the potential shame of having my coupon rejected, I immediately placed an anonymous call to make sure that the coupon was valid and to ask if we had to dine before a certain hour to use it. Once we arrived at the restaurant and claimed our favorite table, which we love because of its location in the front bay window and its romantic privacy curtains, I stressed about what to do with the coupon. Should I mention it to the waiter before we order or when the bill arrives? What if the coupon only works with certain entrees? What if I mention it too early, but then he forgets and I have to embarrass myself all over again and remind him when we pay the bill?

I decided to flash the coupon when we ordered just in case we had to meet certain stipulations. Our waiter was so gracious about it that I quickly felt at ease. Ten seconds of shame was definitely worth saving $25 on our meal. And my duck breast tasted even better because I knew that it was free!

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