Category Archives: dine and dash

Famous Person Dines and Dashes

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.

“Yeah, why?”

“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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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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