I have a moral dilemma. Lots of things happen at work that I take notes about and share on this blog. It's what has gotten me to where I am today which is almost exactly where I was when I started this blog over three years ago. Sometimes things happen that I question whether or not to write about it and if I do decide to post it, how specific should I be? Is it wrong to "out" people who leave crappy tips? It's not really slander if I know for certain that someone did something, right? Recently, I had a walk-out. For those of you not in the restaurant business, first off, let me congratulate you on that, but secondly, let me explain what a "walk-out" is. It's when someone simply leaves the restaurant without paying their check, be it knowingly or unknowingly. There was a news story just this week about four people who committed a "dine and dash" at a restaurant in Sylvan Beach, NY. They were charged with theft of services and issued appearance tickets. Depending on the restaurant, it can really hurt the server because very often the cost of that check comes out of the server's apron. It's probably illegal to do that, but it happens all the time. It's happened to me. I had a walk-out last night.
The audience at the club are all very wealthy people who came out to support their equally wealthy friend who fancies herself a singer. I use the term "singer" lightly. Very very lightly. Like, if the term was any lighter, it would float away. The room is full of people who come from money and they are all entitled elitists pricks who want what they want and they want it now. The problem is they don't know how to ask for anything, they only know how to demand.
"Give me a vodka martini," barks out the Lady With Dyed Black Hair.
"Yes, ma'am. Is there any particular vodka you'd like?"
"What? I dunno." She looks around for a friend, a butler or a maid to make the decision for her. Clearly, someone else usually makes this call. "Just bring me a martini," she spits out.
"Very good. One Belvedere martini, coming right up," I say, choosing the most expensive vodka on the list.
Five minutes later, I am sliding past a table while holding a tray of nine beverages. It's crowded, dark and the tray is very precarious. Just as I reach my table, I feel someone tapping me on my back. I turn my head to see what kind of medical emergency must be happening that would cause someone to need my attention at that precise moment and a woman tells me, "Vodka tonic." Yeah, these are the people I am dealing with.
At booth three, I am waiting on a very famous 89 year old gossip columnist. She's crotchety and obviously does not want to be at the show. Seated with her, but on her own check, is the widow of a very well-known actor who died earlier this year. She's pretty and relatively friendly, especially compared to the royal pains in the asses filling the rest of my section.
"I'll have a margarita, frozen," she says.
"I'm sorry," I reply. "We can't do frozen because the blender makes too much noise during the show. Is on the rocks alright?"
"Too much noise? Oh.." She laughs a bit as if she doesn't quite understand why a blender crushing ice during a musical performance would be any problem at all. "Okay, I guess that's fine."
I return with her cocktail and she never needs anything else. As soon as the show is over, The Grand Dame of Dish and the Widow get up to make their way out of the room. The gossip monger's check has already been taken care of but the widow's has not.
"Ma'am, I have your check. Do you want it now or would you like me to leave it on the table?"
"Just leave it on the table," she tells me.
Famous last words. She never reappears. I go to the host and ask if she saw them leave. "Yes, they both left. I told them that there was an encore but the really old one said she didn't care."
"So the blond lady left too?" I ask.
"She didn't pay her check. It was for $45. I just fucking told her I had it."
"Yeah, she's gone."
And now I reach the moral dilemma. I know the woman's name. I want to out her as a "dine and dasher" but is it ethically okay to do that? Luckily for me, I work in a place where the managers know that these things happen on occasion and the money does not come out of my pocket. But she should know that what she did wasn't right. Maybe it was accident and if that's the case, then she would want to know, right? And if it wasn't an accident, then I should tell the world so that if you see her in your station, you know to acquire a credit card as soon as she puts her privileged butt in the seat. What I should do, is send this blind item to Page Six and let them publish it. Then I can wash my hands of the whole thing. But I like dirty hands.
Her name is Elke Krivat, widow to Ben Gazzara. If you have a Google Alert for yourself, Elke, you owe the club $45 and you owe me $9. What's wrong with you?
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