Sometimes, I can be thick. Sometimes, I miss obvious things. Sometimes, the wine helps.
We were in Athens, Greece and about to go on a cruise. We knew a bunch of fellow cruisers from past cruises and connected with them during our pre-cruise in Athens. We all saw the sights in that amazing city. For much of our site-seeing, we shared a local tour guide. He also provided our transportation from the airport and to the cruise ship. He was such a friendly fellow that you just knew that he knew how to play the tourists. After all, this is what he did every day.
On our last night in Athens about ten of us agreed to let him drive us out of the city to some special temples and a fantastic restaurant with outstanding views. The cost was agreed to and the restaurant bill was on us. No skimpy ‘tourist menu’ for us!
We drove about an hour outside the city. We found the temple at sunset and had delightful views of ancient Greece. Then on the the nearby restaurant.
The restaurant was a delight. Fish, Greek stuffed stuff and wine … lots of wine. We had a ball! We ordered so much food and ate just about all of it! Good friends, good food, good times!
When it came time to settle the bill, I was elected to figure it all out. Of course, no one remembered exactly what he/she ordered or how many glasses of wine were consumed. I merely divided the total by our number.
Everyone had Euros. So, the cash began flying all over the long dining table. I counted, made change and, finally, has the right amount to settle the bill. While the group worked to finish off the remaining wine, I made for the waiter on my way to the rest room. After handling him the cash, I stopped in the rest room.
On my way back to the table, the waiter came over to me and handled me a bunch of bills. I asked if I had paid too much. He just smiled since English was not his language.
At the table, I shared this news. I told everyone that I had overcharged them, but was here with a refund. I divided the cash up and everyone got a share. Good food, good drink, good company and a refund!
On the hour drive back to Athens, our guide/driver wasn’t the friendly guy he had been. He wasn’t rude, but curt and abrupt. We were all so well fed and a wee bit tipsy, no one really gave it any thought.
It wasn’t for a while until it hit me. The waiter had given me the guide’s kick-back for our meal!
In many parts of the world when a guide takes you to a ‘special’ store or restaurant, he may receive a percentage of what you spend. It is very normal. How often have you heard a guide tell you that he knows of a very special place with the very best prices?
It is all business. It does not mean that you will be taken to a bad place with poor products or food. It does not mean that you will pay more than anyone else in the place for the same thing. Think of it as an advertising expense.
But it is the reason you will be taking to one place instead of another.
But in our case, we had a wonderful meal and a discount!