Do Customers Expect Too Many Freebies From Businesses? : The Saturday Weekend Review 2016 #155

The Saturday Weekend Review logo- customers freebiesDO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH A LEMON COSTS?


Freebies are nice to get especially when it saves consumers money. When customers try their hardest to get free stuff that they aren’t entitled to it then turns to “Greed”.

I honestly believe that some customers feel that they are “owed” something when they visit an establishment and demand free stuff or get upset when they don’t get what they want.

I’ve never been to a place that will serve you and take care of your needs as a customer for free especially while sitting in an establishment. When I read an article written for The about a restaurant review on Trip Advisor for Bennett’s Cafe and Bistro in York, UK (which went viral) about an upset customer over a cup of hot water and a slice of lemon, I was not shocked.

I’ve dealt with the same type of customers over the years in various places of employment. Some may classify her as the entitled, cheap customer or believe “The customer is always right”.

Sometimes the customer is not always right, but when should a business speak up?

I’m not talking about signing up for freebies or asking companies to send free stuff today. I’m talking about customers who go out of their way to assume that they should get something for free because it has no value to them or “other places” don’t charge for such a service or product.

The customer Hannah C (from the Trip Advisor Review) says that she should not have been charged 2 pounds ($4.15 CDN) for the hot water and slice of lemon she ordered. Bennett’s Cafe and Bistro”a posh tea house” considered what Hannah ordered to be a pot of tea with a slice of lemon which is what they charged her for. Keep in mind she did not order anything else because she says she was “On a tight budget”. Her friends on the other hand did place an order for cake and beverages.

You know what I have to say, “If you can’t afford it, you don’t go” or you pick a place that you can go and sit for free and hang out with your friends such as a mall cafeteria or park. I’m sure there is a water fountain that you could fill a reusable travel mug with water if you are parched. If lemon is what you love pack some slices to go because you never know when they will come in handy.

Related: Why it’s so hard to say NO when you are on a budget

She went into a busy, expensive Bistro and Cafe not McDonald’s and even then the rules of business still apply. To be upset because your hot water and lemon slice that you were expecting as a freebie did not arrive at the same time as your mates cake and drinks is a bit over the top.

I’ve had food and drink not show up at the same time as friends while out for something to eat, so what…just talk. You are friends, right? I’m sure almost every restaurant aims to get food on the table in a timely manner. It’s not like they plan to keep you sitting with nothing in front of you while your friends are tucking into their food or splashing down a few drinks.

Hannah went on to give the restaurant a horrible review because she didn’t get any freebies and she was unhappy with the service. It was how the restaurant handled the complaint which is what caught my attention. This is not the only business that has to pay bills and this is not the only business that likely puts paying customers first. She was not paying for anything. I can only guess that she expected the free service because she was with paying customers or she truly believed that hot water heats itself and they had free lemons falling from the sky in the back garden. I don’t know.

Sometimes it’s hard to please a customer and if they don’t get what they want they can get upset and assume you are being rude or unhelpful when most times employees are just doing their job. Not every employee we encounter at a business will be happy-go-lucky and full of spunk but we all interpret each other differently. Miserable is one thing but being rude is another. Who is right? Who is wrong? Well, that’s for the employer to figure out.

Maybe that cup of hot water and slice of lemon seems over-priced to you but to the restaurant it was a fair amount for the type of business they run. Just about everything in the UK is expensive so I’d expect nothing less over there as I would in Canada. Business is business after all.

If the business offered complimentary beverages of hot water and lemon or tea (which is doubtful), that’s a different story BUT this is not the case. Some Thai, Japanese and Chinese restaurants we’ve visited offer pots of green tea as part of the meal but that is the allure that brings customers in and part of their tea culture.

Tea plays an important role in many countries.- Wikipedia

Here is Hannah’s Trip Advisor Review from back in December 2015.

bennetts cafe trip advisor review Hannah(1)

The response from the Cafe management was brilliant and certainly explained what I’m sure many business owners want to say but don’t because they don’t want to lose customers or be seen as cheap. To run a business costs money and what you do for one customer you should do for all customers. So either the hot water with lemon is complimentary to the table or the customer pays for it.

Below is only a portion of the well thought-out management response that you must read.

The cost of overheads for the business, ie. rent, business rates, electricity costs, bank charges, etc works out at £27.50 per hour of trading. I pay my colleagues a decent living wage and after taking into account holiday pay, national insurance and non-productive time prior to opening and after closing, the waiter who served you costs me £12.50 per hour.


Freebies Cost Money


When I was reviewing the comments on the Bennett Cafe article one particular comment caught my attention. Although not everyone will agree with the way this was handled and may feel that she should have been given a freebie others do not.

People will always want something for nothing, not thinking how much it costs to run establishments. I wasn’t in management at the time, merely a bartender, but weekends, dance night, and this was live bands, we had a lot who just drank coffee, wanted free refills, plus quite a few who just drank water. You can’t pay for the staff, band, bills with that. So, I was instrumental in getting a coffee machine that they had to pay for each cup, and we only sold bottled water. I also walked around often enough myself, removing all empty cups and glasses so they’d have to come up for more. Those few little changes alone helped a lot, in the long run.- Foxxy

I always understood that restaurant prices were ‘a guide’ where you can complain that the meal/service was inadequate and discuss your issues with the manager, negotiating what you think the meal was worth. Maybe things have changed.

I kind of agree with the restaurant though as the water costs money to heat, the lemon costs money, and you’re using a seat that could be used by a customer who actually will be spending money.

In this case the person had limited funds, so why the heck did they go to a restaurant or anywhere where service is charged? Couldn’t their friends/acquaintances with whom they dined have chipped in to buy a tea or coffee for them? Some friends they are…

I’ve been there, not enough money to buy a sit-down meal or drink. My solution was easy, don’t go in places that charge for food and drink taken to you. There are enough places and for sure probably a shop to buy a bottle of water which would probably cost MORE than the heated water with lemon.

Just sounds like skinflint to me… – End-All-Religion

I’m amazed how many clients where I work often come to me and ask me to check something without going through the right channels. I don’t mind taking a look and helping out when I can but even then my time is valuable. This is why booking appointments is so important and If I don’t stay on track I have to answer to someone.

When you go to the doctor you may read a memo stating that you can only talk about one issue and if need be book another appointment. The problem is that you are only booked in for so much time and if you choose to go on about many problems you now cause a delay for other patients and the doctor loses money.

Some people feel that they can call a lawyer and just chat to them over the phone or via email about their problem but sadly their time is money as well. Some lawyers offer to meet potential clients to hear what they have to say but even then you may end up paying just for that meeting. Don’t assume it will be free.

When my wife worked at Tim Horton’s in her 20’s she said that many customers would always ask for an extra cup because the cup was too hot. The only time they did double up was for tea as it was intensely hot.

At one point the owner started charging for the extra cup because that cup was costing the business money. Eventually they came out with the sleeves but even then customers still wanted double cups.

Every single coffee cup I’ve ever had is hot no matter how thick or thin the cup is. If that was your business would you want to be handing out extra cups all day long for free? Probably not.

Canadian Budget Binder Fan Lisa had this to say about her experience with customers expecting freebies.

Lise-This was in 2006 but still applies today for a lot of travel agents I know. We charged a service fee, but people would expect it to be free. I get it if it’s just a flight that people can book themselves online, but if it’s a huge trip involving lots of components such as flights, hotels, day trips etc. and it has taken a long time to put together I would think its fair to charge a fee

I’ve travelled many places around the world and to save money I did the research and booking myself online. It saved me money to do the leg work myself. I knew that if I called a travel agent I would be paying for those services. I also know it costs more because you are paying for services, the employee wage and the business operations and rightfully so. Freebies these days are slim unless it’s a sample to nibble on at the grocery store.

Would you potentially risk your job or getting reprimanded for handing out freebies that you know you are supposed to charge customers for? 

If you are a business owner how much are you willing to give to customers that expect free stuff?


CBB Week At A Glance


This week was filled with snow, rain, and lots of wind which meant I spent some of my free time outside shovelling when I could have been inside with my family or chatting to all of you. It looks like winter has officially arrived in Ontario but the good news is that it won’t be around for long.

Apart from working and taking our son to the gym and getting a few groceries our week was spent indoors. We are working on sorting out a plan to get our son out of the house a bit more this winter. We will likely participate in a free program in town that runs in the evenings where the kids play and a play room supervisor reads stories.

It’s so important for us to have him interacting with other kids at his age which he won’t get unless we bring it to him since he’s not going to daycare. I was told that he could start school early in a pre-school program so my wife and I will also check into what that entails.

Currently our son is saying all sorts of words especially the word “Clock” which he frequently says out loud and points too when he sees one however he can’t quite say the letter “L” yet so he just forgets about it. So, we are working hard to correct that but what can you do, he’s a toddler right?

I know nothing exciting happened but that’s fine it’s better than having something terrible to report.

How as your week?


Awesome posts published this week


Just in case you’ve missed any of my blog posts this week I will share them all below. If you are looking for past Saturday Weekend Review posts scroll down to the bottom of this post where I will list up to 5 previous weeks for you to read.

If you have a question that you would like to ask Mr.CBB fill out the Contact Mr.CBB form on the Blog Home Page and I’ll do my best to reply to each one. If you want to share a story via a Fan Question please ensure that there is minimum 500 words and lots of details…we love details! I’m more than happy to chat via email to bring your story to life.

New: If your story submission gets chosen and published you will be entered into a yearly draw for a $25 Gift Card or $25CDN via Paypal if you are from the USA.

Right now CBB is posting Tuesday (Grocery Game Challenge), Thursday (Personal Finance Post), Saturday (Personal Finance and Weekly Wrap-Up and a Frugal Recipe on Sunday!

Popular Post this week: A must-read > The Scanning Code of Practice


Budget Brags


Submit your Deal or Brag:

Saving money while grocery shopping is essential in the CBB family and that’s why we share our grocery shops every week in The Grocery Game Challenge .

Join the Budget Brag Challenge 2016 and WIN!!!

What I love the most is when my fans share their amazing shops with me whether it be groceries or other deals they find at a garage sale, online or freebies!  In 2016 if you submit your Budget Brag you will automatically get entered into a yearly draw for a surprise gift card.

If your Budget Brag gets chosen you get an extra ballot! So start sending in your brags with a photo and write-up telling me about your deals. If you are from the USA and win I will Paypal you the money in CDN dollars. Open to Canada and USA only.

If you have a brag that you want me to share email me at canadianbudgetbinder@yahoo.(ca) < remove brackets) or fill out my contact form by Friday each week to have your brag considered for the Saturday post.

pc Christmas mugs(1)

Hi Mr. CBB and Fans!

It’s me Nicola Don!

Over the last few years I have added to our Christmas set by scoring deals when I can as paying full-price for holiday decor is very pricey on the budget. How surprised was I today when I went to RCSS and staring at me were Christmas glasses and mugs with a price tag even I couldn’t pass by.

Glasses retailed for $12 pack 4 – sale price 94c
Mugs retailed for $7 pack 2 – sale price 94c

Total out-of-pocket: Instead of paying $52 I paid $5.94.


Making A Difference (MAD)


Welcome to the 2016 Making A Difference series!

If you are a personal finance blogger (anywhere around the world) and would like your blog to be MAD featured simply drop me an email and I’ll explain the process to you. I’m currently booking for February 2016!

This is my way of giving back to the personal finance community through networking and sharing knowledge with my fans. Today it is my pleasure to share with you the blog Retire By 40.



Hi CBB readers!

My name is Joe Udo. I have blogged at Retire by 40 since 2010 and it has changed my life.

In 2010, I was an engineer at a well-known technology company and I had been unhappy with my career for a few years. The job was getting more and more stressful and it was impacting my physical and mental health. I was planning to get a job with another corporation, but I challenged myself by starting a blog and setting a goal to retire early instead.

Is it really possible to retire by 40? Yes! I met my goal and retired from my engineering career in 2012 when I was 38. You can do almost anything if you’re motivated enough. There are some caveats, of course. I still work part-time on my blog and I’m very busy being a stay at home dad. It’s not the traditional retirement, but life has been fantastic since I quit the rat race.

On Retire by 40, I write about saving, investing, generating passive income, setting goals, and more. I started Retire by 40 to keep track of my progress toward early retirement, but it has grown. Now I try to encourage others to look at their lives from a different angle. If you’re not happy with your career, then you should do something about it. I started with nothing and through aggressive saving and investing, I can live the way I want.

Good luck in 2016!

-Joe Udo

Top Recipe


wendys frosty(1)Food and grocery shopping is a BIG part of CBB because food is a large part of the budget which people struggle the most with. If you are someone who would rather buy convenience meals or products consider cooking homemade meals or baking from scratch. Not only will you save money but you will be proud of what you’ve accomplished and you’ll see that from the smiles on those you feed.

For the past 2 years I’ve had a second Facebook page called The Free Recipe Depot where I exclusively share recipes from Food Bloggers around the world. I also share recipes on the blog on Sunday either made by home cook and mom Nicola Don or myself.

This week our Top Recipe Pick goes to DIY For Teens for their take on the Wendy’s Frosty! You don’t have to be a teenager to enjoy this frosty chocolate beverage which I think is quite nice and inexpensive compared to most shops. Instead of buying it from Wendy’s you probably have the 3 ingredients you’ll need for this recipe in your kitchen. Check it out! I’m going to try this!


Top DIY Project


vertical planter mason jars(1)We talk quite a bit on Canadian Budget Binder about plants and gardening so when I noticed this very cool vertical planter using reclaimed wood or pine I knew I wanted to share it with all of you.

Not only is it sleek and modern it would look perfect in a bright room that is begging for greenery. Check it out and see what you think! It’s super easy to make and inexpensive too!


Editor’s Pick


Every week I will pick a blog post of the week from around the web that I found interesting and want to share with all of you. Please head on over and give the post a read and let them know that Mr. CBB sent you if you comment. Thanks.

Editor’s pick (That’s me Mr.CBB) goes to Trent Hamm over at The Simple Dollar who talks about the one important number that matters the most when it comes to our finances.

I’ve said it over and over and you’ll read why this number is critical to your financial success. I won’t tell you what it is but there will always be an importance on tracking your finances to give you the number you need! I agree 100% with Trent that the choice is yours when it comes to how you plan to spend and save your money. If you put the effort in you will reap the rewards. Your budget won’t run itself.


How readers find CBB


Every week I get thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog. Any spelling errors below are because I share with you the exact way they typed their search engine query to land on my blog. Some of them are serious and others are meant to have a laugh.

  • Do wrong prices in Canadian Liquor Stores Apply to SCOP? – Haha.. could you imagine the line-up at the price-checker if they did apply SCOP? That’s a huge NO I’m afraid.
  • 2 positive Dollar Store Pregnancy Tests– Congratulations the internet won’t tell you anything more than what those two tests will.
  • Asking a stranger on the internet for financial assistance– Is silly… don’t do it!!
  • Fired because of social media– You won’t be the first nor the last.
  • 10 Ways to earn money in Canada- Job, Job, Job, Job, Job, Job, Job, Job, Job, Job (That’s 10 right?)

Thanks for dropping by The Saturday Weekend Review 2016. That’s all for this week friends but make sure to be back here next week to enjoy the next edition in the Saturday Weekend Review Series.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my daily blog post by entering your email address on the home page and verifying the subscription email once it is sent to you. I never share your email and you can unsubscribe at any time with the click of a button although I hope you stick around forever.

Note***If you don’t verify the subscription via the email I send you right after you subscribe you won’t get my daily blog post*** I’d hate to not have you here so please click “Subscribe” in the email.



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  1. Oh.. that’s a cute DIY project Mr. CBB. This would be like one good attraction in my house. I’d definitely do this vertical planter using reclaimed wood or pine. Thanks Mr. CBB. I always like your DIY project.

  2. Given the tone when this woman was writing the review, I’m wondering what was her tone with the wait staff when she complained about being charged… I have found if I am polite and respectful of the staff when I have a question about a bill I get the same back. These people are working and busting their tails to serve you, kindly treat them with respect!!
    Nicola got a nice deal on her dinnerware!! Very pretty too!!
    Your son trying to say clock reminded me of a story back when we were first married. My younger SIL and her then boyfriend thought they would take hubby’s oldest sister’s 3 kids to MarineLand. These kids were raised in Montreal and french is the first language with them. Sitting in the stands doing the show some seals came out and the kids(all under 6yrs) went crazy yelling to look at the seals…in french. The french word for seal can sound an awful lot like a certain word beginning with ‘F’ especially when screamed by small children……. Need I say more…….
    Have a lovely weekend!!

    1. Haha…. now I have to look up that F word in French. I work with him every night when I get home from work in between doing the blog with all of you. He is doing so well. We are very proud of him. Yes Nicola scored some great deals. I was thinking the same as you. Could you imagine what her friends were thinking? I bet they just agreed with her because they didn’t want to embarrass her.

  3. Have you checked your local library for a free weekly story time? Most of these have finger plays, action songs etc. with other children. In Alberta we also have Parent Link (even in rural communities) where parents can go to play with their toddlers and take parenting classes.

    1. Hi Penny,
      Yes we go to the library after swimming now. We had no idea they had a play center in the library. Yes they do story time but I’m not available during those hours however they are open late so we can go in the evenings. 🙂 Thanks for your suggestion.

  4. My worst Airbnb guests asked me to boil them water, used my cup they didn’t wash and my sugar, but they brought their tea bag!
    I didn’t even bother charging them since it’s pennies to me but they short changed a driver they had drive around two hours more than agreed and that really drove me mad.
    They were so cheap and entitled that ruined their whole trip as they spend hours being rude to people until people gave up and let them pay less

    1. Wow that sounds like a shitty deal to me. I would hate to have such cheap people stay at my place. I can see how some people will hound you until you just say yes.

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