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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cash, Credit or Scamming?

We have all had people who have tried to skip out on their check and the occasional walk out who actually succeeds at getting a meal without paying for it. It happens rarely even though it seems like it would happen more often. A few days ago, I encountered a man who was either trying to skip out on his bill or he was incredibly forgetful. Either way, he got on my nerves and as I was trying to fix the situation a thought popped into my head: at least I have something to write about.

At my job, we place all the checks down at the same time immediately after the show is over. Therefore, we have to make change for everyone at once and it can get very confusing when you have ten or twelve tables all throwing credit cards and cash at you at the same time. Table six had a pile of money on the check presenter and when they told me they didn't need any change, it went to the bottom of the stack since I was finished with them. About ten minutes later when I started closing checks, I came across their $129 check and saw that the pile of money was only twenty dollars. Hold up now, wait, what? Frantically, I hurried around the club to see if they were still there so I could squeeze out the remaining $109 (plus tip) from their pocketbooks. At first they were nowhere to be found. Fuck, I had let them leave without double checking their total? What am I, a hack? An amateur? I ran downstairs and then back upstairs looking like a chicken with his head cut off who didn't want to have to cover $109. Then, I spotted one of them up at the front of the room chatting to a group of people. I went up to the man. "Excuse me, but I just wanted to make sure of something. You said you didn't need change right?" "That's right," he said. I looked down at the twenty dollars and then looked back at him with a "so what the hell?" expression. "That's your tip," he said. "I gave you my credit card, remember?" I was really busy so I though maybe he did and I had forgotten. Or maybe he gave it to someone else and he thought it was me. "Oh, alright then. Well, I don't have the signed voucher, maybe you took both of them by accident?" He looked confused. I went to the computer and pulled up his check and there was no credit card info on it meaning it was not swiped by me or anyone else. I went back to the potential scammer.

ME: Can I see your credit voucher just to make sure it didn't get rung under another server's number?
HIM: I dunno if I have it.
Well, can you look?
ME: Did you give me your credit card?
HIM: Yeah, and then you handed it right back to me.
Without going to swipe it? Why the fuck would I do that?
ME: Are you sure you gave it to me?
HIM: I think so.
ME: And you don't know if you have the copy that you signed?
HIM: Uh, I dunno. I don't remember.
Okay, it was like ten minutes ago and he doesn't remember? Is he playing dumb? He seemed too young to be in the early stages of dementia. And I must ask, if one is in the early stages of dementia, how long does it take to be fully demented? (Stole that line from Naked in a Fishbowl).
HIM: You can swipe my card again if you need to, just make sure I don't get charged twice.
Listen buddy, I don't wanna charge you twice. I wanna charge you once.

I took him to my computer and showed him the check. I showed him how there was no credit card info on it and then after I swiped it there was meaning this was the first time it had been swiped. He shrugged his shoulders and said "Okay, if you say so." I do say so, ass. You didn't pay. Maybe you forgot or maybe you were trying to be slick, but you didn't pay and I caught your ass. I do think it was an honest mistake, because if he was trying to skip out, he would have left immediately. But what irked me was that he was acting like I was the one doing something shady. In the end, he paid his check, left me a decent tip and was nice about it, but I don't really get it. Can someone really forget something that quickly? Maybe he was so wrapped up in my attentive and stellar service that he was unable to focus on anything else. Yeah, that's it.

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Jennifer Black said...

Never waitressed, so I've never had anyone skip out quite like that. However, when I worked at an animal hospital, we had several people try to walk out with their animals without paying. However, we always had all of their contact info, so we'd just send them a bill in the mail if they managed it. (Some genius put the washroom right by the exit door, so it was real easy to just say they were using the bathroom and then skip out the door.)

Sometimes, however, said bill would be returned to us with "No such addressee" stamped on it. That always sucked.

Phoenix said...

Dine-and-dashers are some of the best tippers!

I remember when one of the waitresses I worked with had one and she said "I should have known they were going to, they didn't take their jackets off the whole time!" Which I guess in her mind, meant they were going to leave at any minute.

Waiting said...

I had something similar happen just last night. It was a German woman who was really hard of hearing so she kept screaming at the top of her lungs. First, she questioned the amount of the individual items. She was like, "$12 for just a regular burger." I confirmed all the prices were correct and then attended to my other tables for a minute. Her and her husband went to leave so I ran to their table to pick up their cash. It was $21 and their total was $36. I stopped them before they reached the hostess stand and counted the money in front of them.

Woman: What da problem?
Me: The problem is that there is $21 here and your check total is $36.
Woman: I don't understand (suddenly she doesn't speak english)
Me: You've shorted me. You need to give me at least $15.
Woman: Your food too much.
Me: That's irrelevant. You aren't leaving without giving me $15.
Woman: Oh, ok. I give you more.

Then I had to watch them like a hawk while trying to attend to my other tables. As soon as they looked ready, I went over and counted the money. $37 total.

Me: "Thanks a lot, your generosity overwhelms me."

Mary A. said...

I happens everywhere. I used to run a temp agency. In a temp agency, you have to pay your temps no matter what.

There was a dickhead personal injury lawyer who used to run up temp service (and office supply, beverage services and whatever the hell else he was buying apparently). He would let the bill go to collections, then settle for half.

This is the kind of guy that doesn't pay his hooker because he's not horny after he fucks her.

Sorry -- that's crass.

Cap'n Kyrie said...

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Corey said...

it had to have been your service. or maybe it was your looks? maybe he was head over heels for you and just couldn't think straight because, well, he isn't straight, and he was just in love. with. you. ?

thats what i think..

or i suppose it could have been your service.

Danger Boy said...

I hates the dine n dash. Again with the shame...people should just know better. I can remember all 3 times I've stiffed a tip due to horribad service (never stiff due to kitchen), and the one time I walked out on a check. (Asked for it twice, waited 45 minutes. He obviously didn't need me to pay it).
What goes on in these people's heads?

Anonymous said...

One time our boss the owner chased down a customer who stiffed the waitress and got him before he hit the door and yelled wicked loud, "Hey Buddy, next time , go to fucking McDonald's!!!!"

Mind Of Mine said...

I think it is just one of those mundane things we do every day that sometimes we don't remember if we did it or not.

Kristine said...

I dunno, people always forgot what they were going to order the minute I showed up at their table, notepad in hand, so... But, yeah, what a numskull.

Anonymous said...

People at my boyfriend's favorite restaraunt are some of the worst waiters I've ever met. One had his credit card for twenty minutes without returning it, which made us edgy, as we were her only table (what on earth was she doing for twenty minutes?). The food and service are normally so bad, we end up getting our meals for free. I've gotten in the habit of showing up before my boyfriend arrives and tipping the server, so they don't get stiffed. He never carries cash, and if they don't charge us for the meal, he can't tip the server.

Ester Jean said...

Man, I don't want to defend anybody for being a jackass, but I'm gonna:

My husband has a traumatic brain injury from his service in Afghanistan. I was told it was "a minor concussion," but a year later, I am still learning the crazy frickin' ways that TBI has changed our lives. I used to think he really just could not care less about trying to remember something I asked him to do, but it's now very clear to me that although he can repeat lines to movies he saw 3 years ago, he can't remember shit five seconds after it has happened now. Anything that has happened in the last year he has no memory of. He can watch the same exact show on TV 5 times in one week and doesn't remember watching it 2 days earlier. It's sad.

He comes off as being totally careless, and because he doesn't have a visible injury, a lot of people just think he's being a dick, but he isn't. He's disabled. But it sure can look a lot like bullshit.

Anyway, I liked reading your story. I don't know who I'm writing this for, but TBI is the "signature" injury of these wars (invasions? whatever we're supposed to call them now...), and it's really hard to tell the ignorant assholes from the soldiers who are fucked up and fucked over for their entire futures :(