November 14, 2011

Trying not to tolerate a thief

Saturday night we had the rare occasion of being a family of four. Bang and The Princess were each/both on Scouting campouts, leaving the oldest and youngest at home.

We decided to try a fancy pizza restaurant that we had heard good things about. The food and service were okay. They serve the salad family style, and ours was delivered with a nice loaf of bread. The salad was supposed to serve four, but it was very modestly portioned. A few minutes later we found out that we had, in fact, been served another table's half-salad and baguette. The pizza was okay. Mr H and I split a balsamic chicken, spinach and feta, while Boom and Crash opted for fresh mozzarella and basil pesto.

The real story is what happened the next day.

Through an insignificant series of events, Mr H and I discovered that we had each walked out of the restaurant with a credit card receipt, which meant we had the copy with the tip and signature. Crap! I felt awful. I have been a server, Mr H is in the biz, I hated the thought that our server might be thinking we had stiffed her. We made plans to call the restaurant and drive over there, 18 miles, when they opened at 5 pm, to rectify the situation.

During the day, I logged onto my bank account and noticed that the server had gone ahead and closed out the credit card and had treated herself to a 15% tip. Now, I had tipped closer to 20%, but the fact remained that she committed credit card fraud. Crap!

Mr H called the restaurant as soon as they opened and played it cool, asking about the check and credit card receipt without mentioning that we had both copies. Fortunately for the server, she didn't go so far as to reprint the slip and forge a signature, she simply closed out the check and didn't turn in a credit card chit. The manager promptly credited our account and apologized profusely.

I still don't have a good feel for where to direct my wrath. It seems that the server was acting alone. But I have known restaurant managers that would condone that kind of thing. We made an honest mistake, but I still feel bad that we walked out with both receipts. As if the server wouldn't be a thief if it weren't for goofy people like me.

This morning, it still bothered me enough to email the corporate office. I suggested that they review their credit card auditing procedures. It is unconscionable that a server was allowed to check out without turning in the appropriate number of credit card receipts and that no one double checks the amounts. There could be rampant fraud and tip changing going on in that restaurant.

I still feel bad that we, in essence, didn't tip that girl. The conclusion that I want to stick with is; she blew it. Had she done the right thing and sucked it up (for 24 hours), she would have gotten more than twice what she stole. Karma is a bitch.

1 comment:

CharlieDelta said...

When I'm out at a restaurant or bar I usually throw down plastic to pay for the meal/drinks and then tip with cash. I've been doing it like that for 15 years. That way, it's up to the server whether or not to let Uncle Sam know about that income, and it prevents some not-so-honest person from tipping themselves on my dime.

I write "ZERO" on the tip line because when I used to just put a "0" with a line through it I had some asshole bartender put a "1" before the zero and gave himself an additional $10 on top of what I tipped him in cash. Thinking that just because I was hammered, I wouldn't catch his little self-appointed "bartender of the year" bonus, but he was wrong! That's another story, but I nailed him to the cross for it.

This chick in your situation totally blew it. I've never worked in that biz, but I know people that have and have been stiffed. They just shrug it off and see it as part of the job. Some days are good, some are bad. I'm a firm believer in what goes around comes around (good or bad) and it comes back around a lot harder and faster the older and wiser we get.

Have you thought about confronting her directly and telling her that she screwed the pooch on this one? Nothing I can think of is better than making someone feel 2 feet tall and stupid in a situation like this...