No Good Tip Goes Unpunished

| Working | June 28, 2013

(My friend and I all work at a local pizza place. After a long day at work, we head over to a 24-hour restaurant at around midnight.)

Server: *sighs* “Three of you? Follow me… I guess I’ll seat you right here.”

Friend #1: “We’ll be a few minutes. We just want to sit for a bit before we get started.”

Server: “Alright, that’s fine.”

(We eventually place our order, but our server has to repeat everything back several times and in a few cases had the completely wrong drinks. It’s worth noting we are only one of three tables in the restaurant with another server there.)

Friend #2: “Is it just me or did she completely get S*** wrong and give us attitude while she did it?”

Friend #1: “Well, I can kinda get it. It’s late and she’s working here probably has to deal with drunks and druggies all the time.”

Me: “Ya, I feel kinda bad about it, but whatever… as long as we can sit and we get our food, it’s not that big of a deal.”

(When we get our appetizers, there are a bunch of mistakes. We get the rest of our food problem-free, but the server never checks on us or refills our drinks for the 1.5 hours we’re there; instead she just chats with another server.)

Me: “Well, I guess we should be going. How do you think we should tip?”

Friend #1: “Well, the service was s***, but who knows, she might be more tired than we are.”

Friend #2: “Ya, and she has to work at a place like this dealing with who knows what kind of people. Plus we know what it’s like to get bad tips.”

Me: “Alright, good tip it is.”

(Our check between the three of us ends up being only 36 dollars, but we tip her 13 dollars on the table and go up to the front to pay the bill, where she’s also running the register.)

Me: *to the server* “Here’s the money, and we left your tip on the table. I’m sorry it’s all in an assortment of cash, but it’s my tips from tonight. I don’t even need the change from it; I hope you have a good night.”

(The server counts the money but barely even listens to me.)

Server: “Alright, see you later.”

(After paying, we wait around a few minutes outside to smoke and chat before we start walking to Friend #1’s apartment. Note that Friend #2 is really short and looks young, even though she’s 20.)

Friend #1: “It’s so late! It would be funny if someone saw [Friend #2] out walking with us and thought she was out after curfew and called the cops.”

(Amazingly, not two minutes after we say this, a police car pulls up next to us. Two officers, step out and ask us to stop.)

Officer #1: “Sorry to bug you guys, but are you coming from [restaurant]?

Friend #2: “Ya, we are we left there about fifteen minutes ago.”

Officer #1: “Well, we just got a call from them saying you didn’t pay your bill and ran out.”

(All of our jaws drop since we saw our server count the money in front of us. The police separate us, take our info, and ask us for more details about our visit. Afterwards, one of the officers speaks to us.)

Officer #1: “Well, I don’t know what to say to you guys. You’re being helpful. It seems like you’re telling the truth, you’re not getting angry or evading questions, and you even ENCOURAGED us to look at the cameras. Honestly, I believe you guys. We have an officer back at the restaurant questioning your server, so we’ll radio them and see if there’s any change.”

(The officers go back to the car for five minutes, and then came back to talk to us again.)

Officer #2: “I’m sorry, guys, but it seems [name of server] is saying you only paid her four dollars at the counter then told her the rest was on the table and left. They’ve been questioning her, but she’s sticking to her story.”

Officer #1: “Thing is, guys, you seem like good kids. I believe you’re telling the truth and this is some big mixup. It’s late, cold and we’ve been talking nearly an hour. I have your info, so just get home. If it turns out there’s a problem with what you’ve told me, we’ll call you. So if you don’t get a phone call, it’s a good sign.”

(We head home, unhappy with our experience. After a couple of weeks with no phone call from the police, I send a scathing email to the restaurant’s corporate office. Eventually a store manager calls me and apologizes profusely. The server doesn’t lose her job, but faces “serious discipline” while we are refunded twice over ($80) for our troubles. So, that’s the story of how three experienced restaurant employees tried to be nice to a bad server because they felt sorry for her, and ended up having the police called on them!)

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