Monday, January 16, 2006

Thieving

Erica approaches me with two bills in her hands. "I've made a bit of a big mistake," she says.

"OK", tell me what happened, I reply.

"Well, I took this bill to Table 4, see it looks like a 4 (pointing at the docket), and they've paid it on the credit card, but this is actually Table 7's bill."

Straight away I can see what is wrong. Table was a table of eight people, with six teenage kids. They ordered a lot of food. Two items each on average. Table 7 has three people sitting on it. Their order consisted of one entree, two mains, and a salad. Fuck.

"OK. Yes, that is a problem. Are they still here?" I quickly look around. Table 4 has split. Table 7 is happily enjoying their meal.

"No, they left," Erica replies. "And it was weird."

"Weird how?" I ask, removing the credit charge slip from Table 7's bill so we can still charge them later.

"When I took the bill to the table to do the credit charge she signed the bill, and said, 'that's cheap'. She showed it to me, and I said,"Yeah, that is cheap'. You know, there were so many people on the table. I said, 'I think there's a mistake, I'll go and check if this is the correct bill.' She said, 'No, I'm happy with this one'. She paid it. 'I said, no, it really can't be right,' and went back to the kitchen to check. When I came out with the right bill the table was gone."

She knew. The lady knew the bill was wrong, and knowingly paid it anyway. Under the law, that is theft. Jesus. Some customers will pull anything.

The restaurant is out $103. Erica is upset. She thinks she is going to be in big trouble. I go into the kitchen and speak to the owner. He is disappointed but he expects these things to happen as part of the business. I try everything I can think of to retrieve the card number from the sale system and process it manually, but it won't go. When I ask the Manager about it later, she says there is no way to recover the money. Erica is not punished, although she does get a talking to. The money is not taken out of her wages. A joke circulates that she will have to be sold into slavery to make it up.

Actual stealing. I shouldn't be that surprised I suppose. What gets me is that the customer just seems to think it is acceptable - oh well, the restuarant made a mistake, therefore I don't have to pay. Whatever happened to honesty? Recently my partner and I went out to dinner and when the waitress brought the bill, my partner though it was cheap. I looked at it. The waitress had forgotten to put the wine on the bill. We told them about it. Why? Because it is the right thing to do.

If that lady from Table 4 makes a repeat visit to the restaurant, then Waitress Karma will be paying her a little visit of its own.

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