"A MEAL WITH A CONTRACTOR"
A meeting between Mr. Arai, Unit Chief, a contractor for an ongoing project and myself(Mr. Matsuda), Mr. Arai's assistant, began early in the afternoon and ended around 6 o'clock. Mr. Arai asked me if I was hungry. "What do you say to having supper and small drink with me ? Do you know any good restaurant around here ?"
The contractor overheard this conversation and interrupted with "Can I come with you ? I know a very good Japanese restaurant." Hesitant as I was to dine with a contractor, Mr. Arai replied. "Fine ! But let's go Dutch. OK ?", "Mr. Matsuda, please be my guest."
I accepted the invitation in the belief that there was no cause for concern since Mr. Arai and the contractor had agreed to split the bill. We were guided to the restaurant by the contractor and chatted quite amiably about nothing in particular over supper and a few bottles of beer. When the meal was complete, Mr. Arai paid his and my share and the contractor paid his own. As we were about to leave, however, the contractor offered us a small paper bag.
My immediate rection was to refuse by saying, "It's against our policy to accept gifts." The contractor replied, "This is just some dried fish the restaurant owner has given us." The owner backed this up with "It s Just a small thank you token to invite you to come back again."
Mr. Arai responded, "It is no big deal. I'm going to accept it. Why can t you ?" With a remark like this, I thought that refusing would only serve to embarrass Mr. Arai, so I agreed to accept it.
As the restaurant itself was particularly good, I returned there again a few days later with some colleagues after work. Upon entering, I found that the contractor I'd been there previously with, happened to be there again having a meal with someone else. He noticed me and immediately came over to our table to say, "Thank you for the delightful evening we spent a few days ago. Please enjoy yourself."
We ordered several dishes and drinks. When finished, I asked for the bill but it came to much less than I had expected. I checked with the owner to make sure that nothing had been omitted. She confirmed that the total was indeed correct, so, I paid as requested and we left.
The following day, I checked in detail what we ordered against the restaurant receipt. Several drinks would appear to have been omitted from the bill. I wondered if the contractor had paid for them behind my back. I convinced myself that even if that were the case, it should not raise no problem. Nobody else knew about it, and the fact of the matter is that I didn't give the contractor any preferential treatment at all.
・What do you think about the actions taken by Mr. Arai and Mr. Matsuda ? What problems might arise from this ?