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You Didn’t Even Earn Their Two Cents

, , , , , , , | Working | October 27, 2021

I left a negative tip once. It was mostly to let the server know I didn’t just forget to tip — she really was that bad — but partly because I was curious about what would happen.

We had absolutely slow and unfriendly service from the start. I can usually tolerate that; I’ve worked in restaurants before, and everyone has a bad day now and then. But what pushed it over the edge was when our server completely disappeared for half an hour, abandoning not only us but her other tables, as well, without explanation or apology, after I’d told her we had a family emergency and needed our food quickly wrapped to go!

When we finally got the food and the bill, the total was $48.01. I marked minus one cent (“$-0.01”) as the tip, totaled it to $48.00, signed, and left. I also made sure I kept my duplicate copy of the credit card slip.

Naturally, I was watching for my credit card statement to see how the bill had been handled. When the statement came, to my astonishment, the amount charged was $56.00 — the server had changed my minus one cent to an $8.00 tip for herself!

Of course, I still had my copy of the receipt and remembered every detail, so I challenged the excess tip amount with my credit card company and notified the restaurant management.

To the restaurant’s credit, the manager checked their copy of the receipt, saw the tip amount had been altered, and promptly fired the dishonest server. He was extremely apologetic and went overboard to retain us as customers, not only reversing the ENTIRE credit charge but also writing us a check for the amount of our bill — so our meal was basically double-comped! — and then giving us additional gift certificates for our trouble.

We did go back and had good experiences from then on.

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