I’m closing the place down and waiting for my last two tables to pack it up and move on out. It’s a dark and rainy night outside and the warmth of the restaurant is no doubt keeping the customers here longer than normal. I can’t blame them for not wanting to go out into the elements, but as Sherril Holland, manager at Houlihan’s, used to say: “You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here.”
Finally, one of the tables begins to put on their coats and it signals to the other table that it might be a good idea to ask for their check. I remind them that I placed it on the table twenty minutes earlier. The woman laughs at her own absent-mindedness and she digs into her purse to hand me her Visa card.
“Good night, folks,” I say to the exiting customers as I walk to the credit card machine. “Stay dry. Thanks for coming in.”
I swipe the card and am annoyed to learn that the magnetic strip is not working. I swipe it again in the hopes of avoiding having to punch in all the numbers manually. It still doesn’t work so I dig my reading glasses out of my apron to read the card. The total is $72.63. The machine prints out two vouchers; one that says Merchant Copy and the other that says Customer Copy. As per the norm, I take the Customer Copy and fold it up along with the original receipt and then wrap it around the credit card. On the other copy, I circle the words Merchant Copy and place it in a folder.
“Here you are folks. Thanks for coming in and have a good night,” I tell them.
I move over to the other table and begin to clear it, placing the empty water glasses and napkins onto a tray and head to the dish room. When I return to the dining room with a towel and cleaning solution I see my last customers walking away from their table ensuring that my night is nearing an end. I say good night again and they are gone.
I head to my last table to clear it and pick up the credit card folder. There is no voucher. I run to the door of the restaurant to see if I can catch them, but they have disappeared into the darkness and all I see are people walking their dogs in the rain.
They took the fucking voucher.
I know that I gave them two vouchers. I know one was very clearly marked Merchant Copy. I know I will not be getting a tip.
Where did that voucher go? Could it have been stuffed into her purse with the other one? Did she eat it? Did she shove it up her ass to avoid tipping me? I will never know. All I know for certain is that when people walk out of the restaurant with the signed copy of a credit card voucher, I will not be getting a tip. I know that I served them for absolutely no reason other than for the sheer joy of serving and we know how much that is worth.
Don’t take the signed copy. I can’t just assume that you left 20% and add it because the second I do that, a call will be made to Visa and my ass is in trouble for credit card fraud. Yet I can’t make a call to Visa and charge your ass with stiffing me.
Maybe it was taken by accident, but maybe it wasn’t. Is it that hard to believe that people would willingly walk out with the signed copy just to avoid that $14.00 tip? It is feasible and very very likely.
I close the card with no tip. I don’t risk getting fired by adding a tip that I didn’t see. It’s a shitty ending to night. What do you do when someone walks out with the signed copy?