The 12 cons of Christmas: Part two - Christmas food
But, unfortunately, all our Christmas cheer is meat and drink to rip-off merchants and fraudsters only too willing to exploit our goodwill. This third installment of our four-part guide will help you avoid the cons and make sure your Christmas spirit lasts through to the New Year.
4. DON'T BE THE CHRISTMAS TURKEY
Big celebratory lunches mean big profits for restaurants over Christmas, especially when they employ all the tricks of the trade knowing you might not be as vigilant as usual. Don't forget to ask for tap water rather than the overpriced bottled version.
Check the wine you are given is the wine you pay for - you don't want to pay for a vintage Chablis if you've drunk a cut-price Chardonnay.
When it's time to pay, check whether a cover charge or extra high gratuity has been added to your bill before you tip.
Finally, if your service was excellent tip the staff directly, as money tipped on a card rarely makes it to the floor staff.
5. BEWARE OF SPECIAL OFFERS AND BULK BUYING
The numerous three-for-two offers out there this Christmas are only useful if you use them for gifts you were going to buy anyway. But by going into a store with a list of recipients it is possible to make savings on three-for-two products. Also, if you are looking to buy your meat in bulk this year, a local butcher will do you a deal for much better value that supermarkets.
Also be aware that supermarkets will bump up the price of turkeys in the run up to Christmas so buy one early and stick it in the freezer. No one will ever know!
6. SET CHRISTMAS MENUS
It's not just retailers who look to cash in at this time of year, restaurants do it too. You know how it works. You turn up to the restaurant and instead of its normal two- or three-course option for £15 or £20, the cost has jumped to £25 or £30 for exactly the same meal.