HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
What's your latest food quest? Get great advice

What really happens at a restaurant when the customer can't pay?

lucybobo Jun 13, 2007 02:34 PM

I've always heard the make you wash the dishes, but I doubt this is true. The customer would probably just be in everyone's way unless he happen to have kitchen experience. What do they really do? Anyone who has worked in a restaurant who can share stories?

  1. h
    hploviedovie Mar 27, 2014 08:03 AM

    Really old forum, but I once was at a Chinese restaurant and the left my debit card on the table while I got my food, having everyone watch it. I came back and my credit card was stolen. Nobody knew where it was. I went to the front right before leaving as I still had not payed, and the women, who barely spoke english, said they didn't have it. I then asked another waiter if he may have picked it up, the two people started talking to each other fast, and then finally said they had it. They said I needed to show my ID, at the time I was 15 and I had none, so I said I don't have one. Ended up having to call my dad to show his ID, and got it back. They were trying to steal my debit card -.-

    2 Replies
    1. re: hploviedovie
      Puffin3 Mar 28, 2014 09:17 AM

      There's another thread here about restaurants who only take cash. They'll tell you it's to help keep costs down and they are right.
      It keeps them from having to pay income tax on 'cash only' sales.
      The 'cash' goes directly into the restaurant owner's pocket. Then when his seafood purveyor calls and say's "I've got four boxes of live lobsters in my delivery truck two miles away from you b/c the dude who ordered them couldn't pay me. Do you want then for 30% off if you pay cash up-front?".

      1. re: Puffin3
        hotoynoodle Mar 28, 2014 12:31 PM

        or they really are a shoe-string mom and pop saving money by not paying cc processing fees. or perhaps immigrants that are un-banked and only got a micro-loan from their community.

        why does everybody think all restaurant people are cheaters and scofflaws?

    2. b
      boltnut55 Aug 7, 2013 10:06 PM

      We've done this several times... because I generally don't carry a purse/wallet when I go out w/my husband, and these are occasions in which he left his wallet at home. I won't name the restaurants, but at a nice steakhouse, they sent us a bill the next day, which we promptly paid w/a personal check (this was over 17 years ago). At another restaurant, it was a diner that we frequented, so we called and gave her the credit card number over the phone.

      1. juster Jul 11, 2013 12:05 PM

        We got takeout from an Afghani restaurant a few years ago, and it was all boxed up before we found out they didn't take credit cards. We said we'd find a bank and come right back for our food, but they said that we should go eat while it was hot and come back later. We came back right away instead, but it was nice that they were so trusting. Didn't even ask for any info. We still made it to the park with hot, fabulous food.

        Recently, I was shy a dollar at a pizza place. I was going to remove something from my order, but the sweet 15-year-old cashier gave me a dollar. It took me a couple months to finally pay attention to the sticky note on my door, but he remembered me and was appreciative when I returned his dollar. Not a huge deal, but it surprised me from a teenager. (I am not implying that teenagers are bad or ungenerous.)

        2 Replies
        1. re: juster
          Bill Hunt Jul 15, 2013 09:08 PM

          I have been "behind" a few folk, who were very slightly short. I usually just contribute, and ask them to "pay it forward," at some later point. A US $1.00 here, or there, will never be an issue. I loose that much, though the holes in the pockets in my trousers. [Almost sounds like a line from Bob Dylan's "Walking Down the Line... "]


          1. re: Bill Hunt
            alliegator Aug 12, 2013 04:29 PM

            Nice. I do that with elderly folks at pharmacies that fumble with a pile of wadded up singles and come up short. Maybe the 11 or so bucks I paid will get them the meal they need to cushion the stomach from the blow of those pills.

        2. Bill Hunt Jul 2, 2013 07:26 PM

          Depends on WHERE the restaurant is.

          In New Orleans, they just put the "gris-gris" on the non-paying customer. http://www.voodoomuseum.com/index.php...


          1. v
            violin Jun 28, 2013 01:00 PM

            I was at a nice restaurant in San Francisco, eating alone at the bar. Only after I finished eating did I realize that I forgot to put my wallet in my purse.

            I was so embarrassed, and asked if I could go home to get my wallet, and they said "no problem!" I actually left my purse with them as "collateral", although they thought it was a little odd I wanted to do this.

            The most embarrassing part was the other people at the bar looking at me while I was trying to figure out what to do etc..

            1. Firegoat Jun 28, 2013 12:55 PM

              I've noticed that many of the small mom and pop style diners or pizza places that did accept checks would start displaying the bad checks of their repeat offenders at the register. Public shaming.
              When I worked downtown in a decent sized city with a pretty large homeless population because of the bus terminal a block or two away the Subway restaurant in my office building would often do free sandwiches for the homeless if they came in and asked. I don't know that it was a "Subway" thing or just that particular owner.

              1. Bill Hunt Jun 25, 2013 10:02 PM

                Usually, they unleash the "Hounds of Hell," and the offending patrons are eaten on the spot.


                9 Replies
                1. re: Bill Hunt
                  alliegator Jun 26, 2013 08:15 AM

                  Those are some extremely hellish hounds!

                  1. re: alliegator
                    Bill Hunt Jun 26, 2013 09:14 PM

                    And the major reason that I always bring my credit cards, or big cash, now!

                    Do not want to be Hell Hound food - no way - no how.


                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                      alliegator Aug 12, 2013 04:27 PM

                      These hounds might be the reason my husband thinks he has a fine idea in having a credit card number tattooed to the bottom of my foot.

                      1. re: alliegator
                        jrvedivici Aug 12, 2013 04:32 PM

                        I don't know about anyone else, but I'd love to see you checking out at Target!

                        1. re: jrvedivici
                          alliegator Aug 12, 2013 05:05 PM

                          It's a regular occurrence and very blasé, I promise you that.
                          But with Creditfoot, anything could happen. Anything...
                          In fact, I need to head over to deposit a few paper checks at the bank this week, maybe I should pitch the idea of Creditfoot.


                  2. re: Bill Hunt
                    jrvedivici Jun 27, 2013 04:22 AM

                    Who took the picture of me and MGZ when we were out last week?

                    1. re: jrvedivici
                      Bill Hunt Jun 27, 2013 09:08 PM

                      It just appeared on the Internet - no attribution.


                    2. re: Bill Hunt
                      wattacetti Jun 28, 2013 01:56 PM

                      Odd that you mention eating. back in "olden times", customers might wind up getting transformed into filling for the next day's steamed buns.

                      1. re: wattacetti
                        Bill Hunt Jun 29, 2013 09:39 PM

                        That COULD be a possibility.

                        Perhaps that is what happened to Jimmy Hoffa?

                        I will pay closer attention to my "steamed buns!"


                    3. alliegator Jun 25, 2013 01:23 PM

                      This happened to me once a few years ago. I am a woman of, um, many handbags, and just didn't put my wallet into the one I was carrying. I treated myself to a nice lunch out, and then was mortified when I realized I didn't have my wallet. Luckily, I did have my passport in my handbag because I'd misplaced my driver's license, so I was allowed to leave that until I came back. I was going to return right away, but the manager noted that I would get all tangled up in traffic, and said it was fine if I came in the next day.
                      I paid the next day, added a generous tip, got my passport and continued to visit that place quite a bit afterwards.

                      1. jrvedivici Jun 25, 2013 07:58 AM

                        As has been previously stated there is a big difference between "can't pay" and "won't pay".

                        If you refuse to pay, "won't pay" and it's for a completely unjustified reason, the establishment will call the police.

                        If you "can't pay" forgot your money, your dog ate your credit card, and you can't provide ID to establish who you are, and you were in fact there, the establishment will most likely also call the police. In this scenario the establishment has to call the police to identify who this person is, and establish he owe's this debt. If you are able to get his drivers license number and his signature on the check that would constitute an "IOU" and if the debt goes unpaid you can take them to court. Without any form of ID then you need the police to establish his ID and write a report.

                        Most places are not going to let you just "leave" without producing some from of ID, because once you do, next week there will be two more tables with no money and no ID. Then the following week 4 tables, then the following week........I think you get my point.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: jrvedivici
                          hilltowner Jun 25, 2013 06:30 PM

                          Gotta strongly disagree on this one. In all of my 15 years working in the front of the house, I cannot think of a single instance where somebody did not come back and pay. Sometimes it took a few weeks, but people who genuinely intended to pay their check but discovered they couldn't, (expired credit card, wrong credit card, less cash than expected in the wallet, etc) always come back to pay. Never would I think to call the police after they're already embarrassed as it is. Now, someone who never intended to pay the check - that's a different story, though that has never happened to me, either.

                          1. re: hilltowner
                            jrvedivici Jun 25, 2013 07:11 PM

                            Hmmmm your going to strongly disagree with me regarding my personal experiences? Interesting to say the least.

                            The only thing I forgot to mention would be their license plate number in lieu of their drivers license number.

                            I never said there was a problem with people coming back to pay, I said the reason to collect some form of ID from them is to help insure they do come back. Without any form of ID there is no way for the house to protect itself from the customer not coming back to pay.

                            This has been my policy in the many establishments I have managed and owned over the past 30 years. Never having had a complaint lodged by any of the customers who faced this unfortunate scenario.

                            Again, not sure what you have to "strongly disagree" with, two different policies each works.

                            To each their own.

                            1. re: jrvedivici
                              hilltowner Jun 26, 2013 01:38 PM

                              You appeared to be stating your opinion on what would happen if someone couldn't pay at a restaurant. That was what I was disagreeing with. Nowhere in your post was it made at all clear that this was your policy at your restaurant.

                        2. NonnieMuss Jun 25, 2013 06:06 AM

                          My husband and I once were at a very casual place where you paid at the bar on your way out. It was a slow night there and on our way out we stopped for a game of air hockey. We got really into our competition, so when the game was over, we just walked on out.

                          About halfway home husband slams on the brakes and does a U-turn - "We didn't pay for dinner!". We went straight back and ran in with our wallets out. The bartender just laughed at us and said "We knew you guys would come back."

                          1. jnk Mar 11, 2008 01:41 PM

                            1983 or there about, I found myself with a long time friend at Chez Panisse. We had an incredible meal and a bottle of wine and the bill for the two of us was about $100. Not bad really. Well the meal came to an end and the waiter brought the check, and I pulled out my credit card. "I'm sorry sir, but we don't accept credit cards, but you can pay by check". "That's okay" says I, "I'll pay with cash". "If you don't have a check with you, you can send us one when you get home". "No really, that's okay, I've got enough cash with me and I won't be back in N.Y. for another week". "No problem, send us a check when you get home". Well, you've got the idea, I had to fight to pay them. When I asked why they were so trusting, the waiter said, wow, you are a New Yorker, he also said that people who come to a restaurant like this don't stiff them. I paid cash.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: jnk
                              Teague Jun 24, 2013 09:34 PM

                              huh, I know Chez Panisse has it's own ways, but I find it astonishing that a restaurant would not want cash. But then, I'm a small business tax lawyer, and I often have to explain to my clients on the wrong side of the IRS that they cannot get a "cash discount" from their tax lawyer. Ahem.

                            2. im_nomad Mar 10, 2008 12:20 PM

                              this has happened to me a couple of times, once way too close to payday which meant a teeny tiny balance in my bank account....and the restaurant didn't take my type of credit card. I had also been "treating" several members of my family this night. Even the kids were emptying out their pockets, lol........oh boy. I always check ahead now.

                              Several years ago, my family and I were eating at one of those department store restaurants....cheap, but not so bad food... Another family of about 7-8 were seated nearby and once finished and the waitress asked them how their meal was, they immediatly launched into how it "wasn't fit to eat" etc, basically kicked up a big stink until the bill was comped. They literally had left like one or two fries on the plates, it really was ridiculous.......... Now it's a running joke in my family after we clean a plate..."that wasn't fit to eat" lol.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: im_nomad
                                Worldwide Diner Aug 12, 2013 04:44 PM

                                Surprised that the dept store didn't call the cops.

                              2. Miss Needle Mar 10, 2008 10:01 AM

                                I once purchased something at a restaurant for take-out. When I got around to paying, I realized that I left my wallet at work. They told me no problem and gave me the food and told me to pay another time.

                                1. t
                                  traumachef Mar 9, 2008 04:36 PM

                                  I know that this is an old thread, but as a chef from New York and now in Florida, I have a certain group of people who try to scam all the restaurants in an area for free food by complaining about the food. Once they have been discovered we post their picture in all the good restaurants around and throw them out before they order.I have dine and shined more than once, but making a living at scamming a restaurant or restaurants is a crime punishable by a severe tongue lashing and a swift kick in the backside and told never to come back. They move on to the next town very fast.

                                  1. b
                                    Bryarsmom Jun 27, 2007 11:31 AM

                                    It happened to us at a little "all you can eat" place. They cheerfully accepted our personal check. Months later while making our way up front to pay we noticed they'd started accepting credit/debit cards. I know it greatly increased their business-most folks I know use their debit cards for everything these days.

                                    1. Scagnetti Jun 27, 2007 11:10 AM

                                      I have always had a mortal fear of going to a restaurant and when the check is proffered, realizing I don't have the means to pay. I mean I always check my wallet before I go into a restaurant. The mere thought of facing a wait person and telling them I can't pay and being looked at as a deadbeat, strikes fear in my heart.

                                      1. l
                                        lrhr Jun 27, 2007 08:41 AM

                                        Back in the 80's I took two very good friends to a very expensive dinner at Box Tree in NY as a 'hostess gift' for staying in their guest room. I brought my wallet, but not my checkbook and not nearly enough cash to cover the almost $200 tab. I wish I had thought to ask the restaurant to trust me to come back, but my friend pulled out his checkbook and paid the bill and I reimbursed him later...of course, when you are treating you try NOT to let the guest know the total....so embarrassing. Who would expect such an expensive place to not take credit!? (I still think they should have mentioned it when taking the reservation!)

                                        1. Covert Ops Jun 26, 2007 02:42 PM

                                          This is actually kinda sad. . .A town near me has a large homeless problem, and one thing people will often do is go out for a big meal, order as much as possible (including alcohol) and then freely admit they have no means to pay.
                                          They are prosecuted (I find out about this by reading the police reports) but their rationale is a) they're going to jail, so they have somewhere to sleep tonight, and b) they are going there on a full stomach after a wonderful meal.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Covert Ops
                                            Dovid Jun 26, 2007 05:29 PM

                                            When I was in grad school, I remember two occasions when the power went out (weather-related) and most of my fellow patrons ran out without paying the tab. The one place was a pizza joint and the other a bar with typical bar food and a cover charge for the band. Both places must have lost big that night. I remember asking later if anyone came back to settle. Apparently, no one had. Maybe they weren't all rich kids, but this was like looting.

                                          2. b
                                            boltnut55 Jun 22, 2007 11:31 PM

                                            When I was much younger, my parents had a Chinese restaurants in Fisherman's Wharf. I think we only have one incident when a party of four (two younger men with two ladies who might have been their dates) ate, left a few dollars, and quickly walked out.

                                            Forgeting our wallets... the first time was at Mel's Diner because it was cash only, so my husband walked to the B of A and used the ATM. The second time was at the House of Prime Rib! We get the check (our waiter was pretty green, BTW), my husband reaches for his wallet, and he realizes that he forgot it. I hardly ever bring my purse, so I had nothing to offer. The waiter said, "I'll speak with the manager. I've never had this happen before." The manager comes by and says that we can send him a check. We leave our home address, and two days later, we get a bill (like a statement), which we quickly paid!

                                            1. l
                                              laurendlewis Jun 20, 2007 09:16 AM

                                              My first date with my now-husband was at a pizza place and he forgot his wallet..... luckily I could pay (unlike later dates at more expensive establishments!).

                                              And luckily I continued to date him!

                                              1. honkman Jun 19, 2007 01:21 PM

                                                Public flogging. That normally takes care of any similar problems in the future.

                                                1. chef chicklet Jun 19, 2007 09:21 AM

                                                  This is interesting.

                                                  When someone forgets their money or their credit card is declined and offers up another solution it is taken. A personal check, come back later and pay (leave a drivers license or cell phone) usually works without hard feelings. And it is usually pretty embarrassing for everyone.

                                                  Intentionally skipping out or dining and dashing, is treated as "theft" and they are arrested if they walk out and are caught.

                                                  A few weeks ago I helped a friend by serving dinners at her restaurant. She has a great little Mexican restaurant with good food at reasonable prices. She has a huge lease payment $7500 a month. Now try to make some money with the average dinner at $12.

                                                  So when a guy I served did walk out without paying, I followed him out the door. He had obviously been drinking somewhere else prior and I noticed it when I served him.
                                                  While he walked, I walked behind him and said "Sir you owe for the meal please come back" I repeated that several times and he refused me. I then said "If you get in a car, I guarantee, you will get a DUI." Several attempts to get him back, he finally turned around and apologized to me. I said fine but lets go back and look at your bill so you know exactly your charges. Yes and I know all the bad things that could of happened.

                                                  At the door of the restaurant the police were waiting for him. He got lucky that time, my friend the owner only wanted him to lpay the bill, leave her restaurant and never come back. It is theft and you can go to jail.
                                                  As far as the other patrons were concerned, they were told there was no charge for the entertainment.

                                                  All kidding aside, why should we be ok with allowing them to walk out, and we as a customer or an employee shrug and say "oh well."
                                                  I am loyal to my friend, and I promised to help her that night. And it is my belief that if you allow people to steal you are as wrong as they are. And what does it teach the others who are watching?
                                                  It says, it's ok to steal.

                                                  I feel for the restaurant owners and the servers that are made to pay for the meal that was stolen.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: chef chicklet
                                                    HAMMER77777 Jun 24, 2013 09:11 PM

                                                    WHAT if the guy beat the shit out of you? Not worth it

                                                  2. Gio Jun 19, 2007 08:24 AM

                                                    Happened years ago: On the road, stopped for dinner, get bill, search handbag for wallet, find checkbook. OOPS! Restaurants do not take checks. Explain to waiter, plead with manager....who graciously accepts check. Can you spell embarrassed?

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Gio
                                                      bananna slug Jun 19, 2007 08:47 AM

                                                      This has happened to me twice. The first time, when I was in college, was particularly bad because I didn't know they didn't take credit cards. Very much surprised because it was a fairly nice Chinese restaurant and I was on a date. The bill with wine was proably $65.00. The woman in charge that night was the owner's wife (who was likely in her 70s) was amused by and very kind about the situation. She teasingly made me "cross my heart" that I would come back. She didn't ask for anything else other than that and helped me make sure my date (now wife) didn't have any idea there was a problem. Relieved, I made sure I was there the following morning before lunch with the money. She said she knew I would be back.

                                                      The other time was a few years ago. I forgot my wallet at my office and went to lunch at a sandwich shop. Total order was probably $14.00 or so. Didn't realize I had only $2.00 in cash and no credit cards until I was rung up. Sheepishly explained the situation and before the woman at the counter could say anything, the guy behind me in line paid, telling me to leave my two bucks in the tip jar. I offered to send him the money and he said no, just do something nice for someone else. I'll never forget that.

                                                    2. hotoynoodle Jun 19, 2007 08:06 AM

                                                      about to pay my check one night, i realized my wallet had been stolen. in the restaurant. the owner comped our bill.

                                                      one new year's eve, two girls early 20s, had a very expensive dinner and were pretty tipsy. both of their credit cards were declined. they both attempted to go to an atm, but we made one of them stay put. back and forth, call their banks, neither could get any cash. it took 2 hours and she finally called her father from out of state (at 2:30 in the morning) and he gave me his cc# over the phone. i was furious these girls were so clueless.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                        jgg13 Mar 10, 2008 12:45 PM

                                                        This reminds me of something I once saw. Was at a restaurant in Denver, eating on a fenced in patio. There was a group who had their bill come, and they had the money (which had to have been a good amount, it was a sizeable group) in the little folder thing. Well, there was a commotion - some guy who was walking by (they were on the edge of the patio) reached over and grabbed the money and took off.

                                                        After the commotion died down, it turned out they were *still* being held responsible for paying the bill. At the end of the day, that seems "fair" as it isn't the restaurant's fault that their money was stolen, but OTOH, security of the patrons *does* seem to be the responsibility of the owners, so who knows.

                                                      2. Veggo Jun 19, 2007 08:03 AM

                                                        About 35 years ago: all night diner, wallet was in the car. Standard college attire was golf shirt, faded jeans, nicely polished Bass Weejuns, no socks. Portly, affable balding guy at register evaluating my risk of flight. "Leave one of your shoes here."

                                                        1. f
                                                          fudisgud Jun 19, 2007 02:02 AM

                                                          I remember seeing a t.v. program in the 80s about a restaurant that had a box full of watches that people had left behind from as far back as the 60s and 70s as collateral for a meal they couldn't pay for.

                                                          1. John Manzo Jun 14, 2007 10:53 PM

                                                            Unless decades of TV sitcoms have led me astray, you are forced to wash dishes, with hilarious results. And you learn a valuable lesson.

                                                            And WHOOPS, my witty reply would have been wittier is you hadn't already mentioned this urban legend in your OP, sorry about that!

                                                            1. t
                                                              Ted in Central NJ Jun 14, 2007 03:11 PM

                                                              Back around 1982, my SO and I went to a recently opened restaurant, and among the reasons why we wanted to go there was the reality that I was almost out of cash (both in hand and in my local account) and because this restaurant's ad in the newspaper stated that they took Visa credit cards.

                                                              We had a decent meal, and were presented with the check. I proferred my credit card, only to be greeted with the words, "Sorry, we don't accept credit cards". My response was something along the lines of, "Well, then YOU have a problem because your ad in the newspaper states that you accept Visa, Mastercard, and Amex, and I don't have the cash".

                                                              The waiter disappeared for perhaps 15 minutes, and I observed him conferring with the manager. Upon his return, he accepted my credit card, processed the transaction, and we were on our way. I never did figure out exactly what was going on in that restaurant, and I never did return to that place.

                                                              1. e
                                                                excuse me miss Jun 14, 2007 08:41 AM

                                                                the phrase "dine and dash" is for people who actually run out on the bill. different restaurants have different policies- some restaurants will make the server pay for the bill. (there are also cases where the person doesn't sign their credit card slip, then they dispute the charge, and the server ends up having to pay for it!)

                                                                if someone is caught trying to dine and dash- sometimes the restaurant will call the police- but sometimes not. what are the police going to do? the restaurant looses the money anyway- and the trouble of waiting for the police and holding the person isn't really worth it.

                                                                if it's really a mistake- forgot your wallet- and you promise to return- they'd probably let you go. if it is a place where i'd have to pay for your bill if you don't come back i'd probably ask you to leave something as a "deposit".

                                                                9 Replies
                                                                1. re: excuse me miss
                                                                  piccola Jun 14, 2007 09:23 AM

                                                                  It's happened to me at neighborhood restaurants before, because that's when I'm most likely to forget my wallet at home or not carry cash. In places where I'm a regular, they've trusted me to come back. Otherwise, I leave my cell phone or another possession as collateral while I go fetch money.

                                                                  1. re: excuse me miss
                                                                    rebs Jun 15, 2007 09:00 AM

                                                                    i've always heard it called "chew and screw"...

                                                                    1. re: excuse me miss
                                                                      heathermb Jun 18, 2007 08:10 AM

                                                                      I waited tables in college and the way the restaurant handled "cash-out" at the end of the shift for each server resulted in us covering any bills that weren't paid - it basically came out of our tips. If the unpaid check was paid at a later date the money wasn't necessarily given to the server - only if they happened to be there when the payment came in. It never happened to me, fortunately, but I did have friends who were burned in this way.

                                                                      1. re: heathermb
                                                                        jeanmarieok Mar 9, 2008 04:56 PM

                                                                        I hate to hear that servers are penalized when people don't pay.

                                                                        1. re: jeanmarieok
                                                                          Ruth Lafler Jun 28, 2013 01:22 PM

                                                                          I believe it's also illegal to take it out of the server's pay.

                                                                          Okay, not specifically illegal, but probably illegal in practice since (a) "tips are to be fully retained by the employee" and (b) the wages (not including tips/tip credit) paid to the employee cannot fall below minimum wage, which deducting a bill of any size would do.


                                                                        2. re: heathermb
                                                                          Kalivs Jun 25, 2013 12:13 AM

                                                                          That's just wrong.

                                                                        3. re: excuse me miss
                                                                          coll Jun 19, 2007 04:45 AM

                                                                          The restaurant will trust you if they know it's an honest mistake. It happens.
                                                                          But we had a couple that came in three times and gave us bad checks each time. The cashier recognized them and ran outside to get their license plate. I went to the police station the next day, and afterwards the detective who investigated came in to thank me, as the couple were already wanted for welfare fraud, so he decided to stake them out: while covertly following them, he also got them on about 15 traffic violations (speeding, running stop signs, etc) and finally arrested them at the mall. He said he was ready to retire but this was one of the arrests he would remember, it was very satisfying. Some people you just don't want to return!

                                                                          1. re: excuse me miss
                                                                            lagatta Jun 30, 2013 03:57 AM

                                                                            This actually happened to me, a "friend" who left a café without paying, and was actually waiting around the corner. I was mightily peeved, to put it politely, and went back to pay her order (this was just something like coffee and a sandwich). She actually thought she was being "bad" in a cute way. She was at least 30 at the time, not a feral teen...


                                                                            1. re: lagatta
                                                                              Bill Hunt Jul 1, 2013 07:18 PM

                                                                              I almost made that mistake (not saying that your instance WAS a "mistake). I had my usual at a great little deli in the French Quarter. I talked with the proprietor, his wife, his children and his M-I-L. I wrapped up, and was starting to walk out. The proprietor asked kindly, "Should I put that on you tab?" Of course not, I just forgot, and instantly paid, but "stuff" can happen, especially with great conversation.

                                                                              Even at a local, casual bistro, I make sure that the check is paid early on, rather than worry about it, after two more glasses of wine!


                                                                          2. b
                                                                            Bite Me Jun 14, 2007 12:12 AM

                                                                            I've been caught without enough cash at a cash-only neighborhood place. I wrote down my name and the amount for them, which they put next to the cash register; I brought it the next day, plus the tip.

                                                                            1. hannaone Jun 13, 2007 04:24 PM

                                                                              When I was a rest owner this happened every once in awhile. I always trusted the person to come back and in thirteen years was only burnt once.
                                                                              As far as getting some kind of information/positive ID - it depended on the vibes I got from the customer.

                                                                              My favorite came back later incident didn't involve paying for a meal though - I received a letter from a lady who had eaten at my rest over a year earlier, apologizing for not leaving a tip. Also in the envelope was eleven one dollar bills, a ten dollar tip with one dollar interest.

                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                              1. re: hannaone
                                                                                smartie Jun 13, 2007 09:54 PM

                                                                                how sweet.

                                                                                I had a an couple in who ate lunch, the woman told the server she was going to the bathroom, then the husband went too, neither of them returned and they hadn't paid. We never knew if this was a ploy or they were too old to remember if they had paid yet.

                                                                                1. re: smartie
                                                                                  excuse me miss Jun 14, 2007 08:25 AM

                                                                                  that sounds like a ploy. i've seen it done many times.

                                                                                  1. re: excuse me miss
                                                                                    julesrules Jun 18, 2007 08:15 AM

                                                                                    Yup sounds like a classic "dine and dash" scam.

                                                                                    1. re: julesrules
                                                                                      soupkitten Jun 19, 2007 07:36 AM

                                                                                      saw a couple try that in whole foods the other day-- probably $250 in groceries in the cart. . .

                                                                                      1. re: julesrules
                                                                                        Bob W Jun 20, 2007 09:33 AM

                                                                                        AKA "chew and screw"

                                                                                  2. re: hannaone
                                                                                    diva360 Jun 17, 2007 10:00 PM

                                                                                    I'm one of those who went to the breakfast taco place up the street and ordered one. I whipped out my credit card and the woman said five dollar minimum. I didn't have cash, so she said come back later. But then again, she'd seen me a few times. I paid the next day. But the taco was only about two dollars.

                                                                                    1. re: diva360
                                                                                      hannaone Jun 17, 2007 11:17 PM

                                                                                      I've found that given a chance most people are honest. Unfortunately the few who aren't make it tough on the rest.

                                                                                  3. s
                                                                                    Sister Sue Jun 13, 2007 04:13 PM

                                                                                    There was a thread on this topic a few months ago.


                                                                                    1. j
                                                                                      jturtle Jun 13, 2007 04:00 PM

                                                                                      When I was a server I have had to deny patrons credit cards and sometimes that is all they had to pay. Generally, one member of their party will go run to a bank or a different member of the party will pay It really doesn't happen that often. The times when I did see it were usually when people were traveling and the credit card company put a hold on their account due to the "strange" charges.

                                                                                      This has happened to me but not in a restaurant per se...Maybe at a certain large coffee chain. A few times early in the morning on a weekend I have grabbed the wrong purse, the one without the wallet, and since they often take your order before you pay gotten to the front of the line only to realize, oops no wallet. Generally, they just waive me off or I promise to return later that day or the next to pay. I think that because it is a sincere mistake and I want to return later with the money. Although, this same coffee shop is also not allowed to take $100 dollar bills and will waive you off if you try to pay with one and just give you your coffee.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: jturtle
                                                                                        boltnut55 Jun 22, 2007 11:23 PM

                                                                                        Regarding the tourists, what sometimes happens is that the hotel puts a hold on the credit card, and if the customer is close to the limit, then it becomes a problem.

                                                                                      2. s
                                                                                        swsidejim Jun 13, 2007 02:58 PM

                                                                                        I was surprised by the ammount of people who do not check to see if a restaurant is cash only, or accepts a certain type of credit card before dining. If I am going to a new restaurant, and I am in doubt I either call first and ask the credit cards they accept, look for the sitckers on the door, or ask the waiter before ordering. I do this because not everyone accepts Amex, and I would be pretty embarassed to go to a cash only place without any on me.

                                                                                        With the above said I figure a restaurant if they can see the diner without funds is sincere, and has either forgotten a wallet, or has the wrong payment method, they will work with you and get some personal info from you to insure you return to pay the check.

                                                                                        34 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: swsidejim
                                                                                          ccbweb Jun 13, 2007 03:46 PM

                                                                                          The key thing there is "in doubt." If its a less expensive restaurant serving burgers, pizza, tacos, curries etc, then I always check. But there are times when I've been totally caught off guard by places that have a wine list and where the meals easily run to $60 or $70 for two people and are cash only. For such a place, even though I've run into them, it never occurs to me to check about whether they accept cash only. I keep an extra check in the car so that I can at least offer that.

                                                                                          1. re: swsidejim
                                                                                            ajs228 Jun 26, 2007 02:50 PM

                                                                                            I'm surprised when I come across restaurants that are cash only. I know many people who carry no cash, or very little, and pay for everything by card. It's one thing if it's a hot dog cart, but any sit down restaurant should accept plastic these days.

                                                                                            1. re: ajs228
                                                                                              boltnut55 Jun 26, 2007 04:53 PM

                                                                                              Usually small ethnic restaurants won't take charge cards or will have a minimum (which I keep thinking is illegal but I can't find the reference to it).

                                                                                              1. re: boltnut55
                                                                                                soupkitten Jun 26, 2007 05:06 PM

                                                                                                it isn't illegal. keep in mind that the restaurant needs to pay a monthly processing fee plus a percentage of the tabs-- so a smaller rest may not be able to afford the 2% or 3.5% of its sales that it gives up by processing credit cards-- it needs that cash to stay open, serving food. same goes for the hot dog vendor.

                                                                                                the restaurant gets paid 100% on a tab of $100 when it's covered in cash or check, but when a credit card is used the restaurant may only get paid $95, so there is an incentive for a place to take cash only to avoid charging all its patrons more per entree to cover the loss from credit card transactions.

                                                                                                same concept of the gas station giving you 10 cents off per gallon if you pay in cash or check rather than by credit card.

                                                                                                1. re: boltnut55
                                                                                                  jlawrence01 Jun 27, 2007 07:26 AM

                                                                                                  >>Usually small ethnic restaurants won't take charge cards or will have a minimum (which I keep thinking is illegal but I can't find the reference to it).<<

                                                                                                  It is NOT illegal **BUT** it violates the merchant agreement with the bank which processes their VISA/MC cards. All agreements that I have ever seen state that you cannot charge cardholders a higher price to use their card or require a minimum purchase.

                                                                                                  In practice, it is rarely enforced ... at this time.

                                                                                                  Credit card fees - like utility costs, rent, and food costs - is part of the cost of doing business.

                                                                                                  1. re: jlawrence01
                                                                                                    excuse me miss Jun 27, 2007 07:42 AM

                                                                                                    yeah- when i was a teenager i worked as a cashier at a dollar store, and i frequently had to deal with customers who would come to pay only to find out (and get angry that) we were "cash only". we would explain than in order to keep merchandise cost so low (everything was $1) we had to cut costs wherever possible. as i remember many of them would stay angry as if that was completely unreasonable and unacceptable.

                                                                                                    many restos in my city only take cash or credit- no debit/interac. i found that strange but there really aren't many people requesting to pay by debit- so i suppose it makes sense.

                                                                                                    1. re: excuse me miss
                                                                                                      xanadude Mar 9, 2008 06:21 PM

                                                                                                      processing as debit would be harder--how would you get the PIN, etc. I suppose it's doable with a handheld pin pad (or a few), but... it's not normal.

                                                                                                      1. re: xanadude
                                                                                                        Kalivs Jun 25, 2013 12:10 AM

                                                                                                        In Europe you have a pin with your credit card. They don't take signatures anymore.

                                                                                                        1. re: Kalivs
                                                                                                          Ruth Lafler Jun 28, 2013 01:17 PM

                                                                                                          Yeah, they do. Although if you don't point out to the cashier that they need to run it through a machine that will print out a credit slip for you to sign, sometimes there's a problem. But I used my card with no PIN in England, Germany and Italy last month.

                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                            lagatta Jun 30, 2013 03:52 AM

                                                                                                            Can't you get a card with a PIN and a chip? Much easier to use in Europe.

                                                                                                            1. re: lagatta
                                                                                                              Delucacheesemonger Jul 1, 2013 11:19 AM

                                                                                                              When you figure out how to, please let me know. Not only Europe but even Canada uses it and no seller other than the $ 500/yr Chase card has it in the states.

                                                                                                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                                                                                                lagatta Jul 2, 2013 06:07 AM

                                                                                                                I don't know - I live in Montréal and every card I have has a PIN.

                                                                                                                Why are they the (expensive) exception in the US? Bizarre.

                                                                                                                1. re: lagatta
                                                                                                                  Ruth Lafler Jul 2, 2013 07:37 PM

                                                                                                                  For some reason, in the US change has become anathema. Amazing that we used to be leaders in technology and now the rest of the world is passing us by while US industry digs its heels in and refuses to invest in newer technology -- presumably because in this short-term-profits driven economy, it won't help the bottom line in the next quarterly report.

                                                                                                                  But as I said, I haven't had any problem using the old cards in either Europe or Canada in the last year.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                    Bill Hunt Jul 2, 2013 07:51 PM

                                                                                                                    My new AMEX Platinum has gone with the "chip," and my United VISA Club has gone with similar, plus a metal layer, to stop "drive-by" piracy.


                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                      BobB Jul 9, 2013 07:07 AM

                                                                                                                      You're lucky - I nearly missed a train a couple of years ago in Paris for lack of a chip. I went to buy my ticket at Gare du Nord about 7PM the night before. The ticket windows were closed, but there was a long row of ticket vending machines - all of which took ONLY chip cards, no cash or old-style credit cards. I had to get up extra early the next morning to hit a ticket window when they opened, and just barely made the train.

                                                                                                                  2. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                                                                                                    vttp926 Jul 3, 2013 05:52 PM

                                                                                                                    Actually the credit union I work all of our cards with a Visa logo has both a Pin number and a chip in it. It was actually tested in Europe before being released here in NC.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                                                                                                      BobB Jul 6, 2013 08:02 AM

                                                                                                                      Not so - I just swapped my existing Citibank Aadvantage M/C for an identical one with a chip. No charge to upgrade, no big annual fee.

                                                                                                                      1. re: BobB
                                                                                                                        Bill Hunt Jul 6, 2013 07:58 PM

                                                                                                                        My AMEX just came with the "chip," when it was up for renewal. No charge, nothing, but a new set of cards.


                                                                                                                  3. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                    PotatoHouse Jul 3, 2013 06:13 AM

                                                                                                                    I went through Canada almost weekly until recently and used my credit and debit cards at Point Of Sale and never had a problem, although they could not be used in ATMs.

                                                                                                              2. re: excuse me miss
                                                                                                                morwen Mar 10, 2008 06:46 AM

                                                                                                                I don't have a charge card, only debit backed by visa and I use it everywhere visa is accepted. Restaurants don't ask me for my PIN, they run it just like a charge and I have to sign a slip.

                                                                                                                I also just noticed that the two restaurants in my town that only take cash now have small ATMS near the cash register. I assume this way the restos avoid all fees and the customer can pay directly for the convenience of using plastic

                                                                                                              3. re: jlawrence01
                                                                                                                soupkitten Jun 27, 2007 12:00 PM

                                                                                                                i agree that min purchase rules are pretty dumb-- the restaurant pays the same percentage anyway, but if they also have a min/max transaction fee, the restaurant gets hosed when a customer puts a cup of coffee on a credit card, so the restaurant jacks up the prices on everything as a result and has the min purchase policy to discourage this. i blame the credit card company fees, not the independent small business.

                                                                                                                i was talking about small restaurants choosing not to accept charge cards AT ALL, which is within the business owner's rights, since credit cards are private, not legal tender. yes some places may lose those corporate lunchers, or the big wedding party, because they don't take visa, but there are all sorts of small restaurants that aren't going for that type of business anyway, & you can't dictate that they *must* take credit cards.

                                                                                                                1. re: soupkitten
                                                                                                                  jgg13 Mar 10, 2008 12:41 PM

                                                                                                                  The min purchase rules aren't just dumb, they're not even allowed to have them. You can report places that do this to VISA/MC (depending on which you're trying to use).

                                                                                                                  In practice, not much (if anything) will likely happen, but you never know.

                                                                                                                2. re: jlawrence01
                                                                                                                  Scrapironchef Mar 11, 2008 12:44 PM

                                                                                                                  Credit card fees are an avoidable cost of doing business though. Many merchant agreements have stepped fee schedules so smaller transactions can be a net loss.

                                                                                                                  While all agreements you have seen may not allow a minimum, I'd like to see a bank go after some mom & pop who doesn' t go along.

                                                                                                                  1. re: jlawrence01
                                                                                                                    westsidegal Jun 25, 2013 07:41 PM

                                                                                                                    there is a small, ethnic, restaurant, Hide Sushi in Los Angeles that requires cash. It provides it's customers great value for the price.
                                                                                                                    it is PACKED most of the time.
                                                                                                                    i have been going there for about the last 25 years.
                                                                                                                    they have a dry-erase board set up so that customers can log in themselves when they enter the restaurant and start waiting for a seat.

                                                                                                                    apparently, it is NOT always the "cost of doing business."
                                                                                                                    (p.s. they installed an ATM machine near the front door for those people who need it)

                                                                                                                    1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                                                      hotoynoodle Jun 27, 2013 08:59 AM

                                                                                                                      i go to a few places that are cash-only too. they all have signs on the entrance door, so you'd have to be blind to miss them.

                                                                                                                      1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                                                        lagatta Jun 30, 2013 03:53 AM

                                                                                                                        Quite a few such places here in Montréal, or at least that don't take credit cards.

                                                                                                                    2. re: boltnut55
                                                                                                                      Barbecue Joe Mar 11, 2008 04:27 PM

                                                                                                                      In the eyes of the law it isn't illegal. But most credit card agreements with the merchant clearly state that you may not set a minimum price for the use of the card. While it is ok to offer a cash discount.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Barbecue Joe
                                                                                                                        Ruth Lafler Jun 28, 2013 01:19 PM

                                                                                                                        A lot of cut-rate gas stations charge a different price for credit or ATM than they do for cash. It's certainly not a secret, as the price differential is posted on a sign visible on the street.

                                                                                                                    3. re: ajs228
                                                                                                                      jgg13 Mar 10, 2008 12:39 PM

                                                                                                                      A friend of mine is one of those people and it is *very* annoying as he never has enough cash when we go places. There are a lot of hole in the walls (at least around these parts) that are cash only.

                                                                                                                      1. re: jgg13
                                                                                                                        stellamystar Mar 11, 2008 08:54 AM

                                                                                                                        I have the same situation with cashless friends. I just interfere with "I need to stop by the ATM, do you?" And that usually takes care of itself.

                                                                                                                        1. re: stellamystar
                                                                                                                          jgg13 Mar 11, 2008 11:26 AM

                                                                                                                          Except wtih this particular guy, cajoling never helped. I'd even say, "I don't know that XYZ takes plastic" and he'd say "of course they do!" and sure enough, I was right.

                                                                                                                          I never understood why keeping a couple of $20s in one's pocket was suc ha huge burden, but he always talked about not wanting to be weighed down.

                                                                                                                          1. re: jgg13
                                                                                                                            stellamystar Mar 11, 2008 12:29 PM

                                                                                                                            Jgg13 - Me thinks your friend is enjoying the bail outs. ? Just possible. It is beyond annoying to me - especially in the ATM age where getting cash is so simple.

                                                                                                                            1. re: stellamystar
                                                                                                                              hill food Mar 14, 2008 03:09 PM

                                                                                                                              but conversely if it's a place that does accept plastic and you're going dutch treat and they have cash and you have plastic, it's a fee-free cash advance for you...

                                                                                                                              (knew someone in grad school who played that game so well that out of a table of 10 for drinks, the last 3 or 4 usu. ended up drinking for free)

                                                                                                                            2. re: jgg13
                                                                                                                              boltnut55 Mar 12, 2008 09:53 PM

                                                                                                                              Anytime I've carried a lot of cash, I've used it much quicker, so I always carry just a few dollars. I don't have my friends bail me out though. I just don't buy on impulse.

                                                                                                                    4. Glencora Jun 13, 2007 02:47 PM

                                                                                                                      I sat at the table feeling foolish, while my boyfriend went to a nearby ATM. It was a cash only place, too.

                                                                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Glencora
                                                                                                                        Velma Jun 13, 2007 02:51 PM

                                                                                                                        Same story for me. I sat and waited while hubby ran to the ATM machine. I don't rely on him anymore-I make sure I have my wallet with me.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Velma
                                                                                                                          Davwud Jun 13, 2007 03:08 PM

                                                                                                                          I think most of us have had that happen.


                                                                                                                          1. re: Davwud
                                                                                                                            bagelman01 Jun 26, 2013 05:55 AM

                                                                                                                            When I was six years old, my mother took me to lunch at a local restaurant. After eating she discovered that her wallet was not in the pocketbook she grabbed when leaving the house. The proprietor had mom leave me at the restaurant while she drove home for her wallet. (Never would happen today).

                                                                                                                            Since that experience, I am always checking my wallet to make sure I have money before entering a restaurant. More than 50 years and the trauma remains.

                                                                                                                            1. re: bagelman01
                                                                                                                              jrvedivici Jun 26, 2013 06:10 AM

                                                                                                                              Hahahaha........reminds me of a quick story. My father having been in the restaurant business in NJ would routinely take trips into the Bowery Section of NY for restaurant supplies. This being in the late 70's early 80's I was about 10 years old. The Bowery was what would be considered a rather "seedy" part of the City during these years. My father took me on a trip one time, in my mothers new Cadillac, and as he went in the restaurant supply store he told me to stay in the car. So in the car I sat, at one point a bum actually urinated right outside my window.

                                                                                                                              Later that night we are with my mother and she asks what my father and I did for the day.......he responded he went into the Bowery to get some equipment he needed. My Mother in utter disbelief said something to the extent; "Why in the world would you take him into the Bowery with you" to which my father responded "I was worried about your car so I had him sit in it so nobody would take it".

                                                                                                                              Thanks Dad! lol

                                                                                                                              1. re: jrvedivici
                                                                                                                                coll Jun 26, 2013 07:50 AM

                                                                                                                                I grew up in those times too, and believe it made us stronger grown ups after the fact. I could never imagine being so protected as kids now are, poor things. But of course I lived to tell about it!

                                                                                                                                One of my first dates, a guy took me into Times Square to check out the peep shows, and it didn't phase me one bit. But I digress!

                                                                                                                                1. re: coll
                                                                                                                                  jrvedivici Jun 26, 2013 07:56 AM

                                                                                                                                  I was born in 1970, and while it was still somewhat of a no-no it wasn't nearly as taboo as it is today. My favorite maternity photo of my mom, while pregnant with me, is the one of her posing with a cigarette in one hand, and a glass of scotch in the other.

                                                                                                                                  I still tease her to this day that she stunted my growth. Although I'm just shy of 6'4", I'm telling you I should have been 6'6" dammit!!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: jrvedivici
                                                                                                                                    coll Jun 26, 2013 08:00 AM

                                                                                                                                    We could do anything we wanted, as long as we came home when the street lights came on!

                                                                                                                                    My Mom too smoked while pregnant with me, and knowing her, probably had her share of drinks too; I like to think I came out OK!

                                                                                                                              2. re: bagelman01
                                                                                                                                Bill Hunt Jun 26, 2013 09:12 PM

                                                                                                                                Hey, that sounds like better collateral, than my watch!


                                                                                                                                1. re: bagelman01
                                                                                                                                  Delucacheesemonger Jun 27, 2013 05:03 AM

                                                                                                                                  Same thing, pre-ATM. My wife and mother were held 'hostage' until l could drive the 90 minute roundtrip home. The restaurant that l had been going to for decades had stopped using VISA that day. Never returned.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: bagelman01
                                                                                                                                    rasputina Jul 1, 2013 06:53 PM

                                                                                                                                    They held you hostage for a meal? eek.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Davwud
                                                                                                                                    ferret Jun 27, 2013 06:13 AM

                                                                                                                                    And more than once.

                                                                                                                              3. Davwud Jun 13, 2007 02:44 PM

                                                                                                                                Can't pay or won't pay??

                                                                                                                                Can't pay is most likely "I forgot my wallet." So you take down a drivers license and have them return the next day with appropirate payment.

                                                                                                                                Won't pay. Cops.


                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Davwud
                                                                                                                                  Grubbjunkie Jun 13, 2007 02:58 PM

                                                                                                                                  How do you take a license # if they forgot their wallet?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Grubbjunkie
                                                                                                                                    Davwud Jun 13, 2007 03:07 PM

                                                                                                                                    That is one hell of a good question!!!


                                                                                                                                    1. re: Grubbjunkie
                                                                                                                                      bagelman01 Jun 26, 2013 05:52 AM

                                                                                                                                      I certainly know mine by heart, I've had it since 1970.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Grubbjunkie
                                                                                                                                        jrvedivici Jun 27, 2013 04:18 AM

                                                                                                                                        Their license plate number and or registration would also suffice.

                                                                                                                                    2. d
                                                                                                                                      david sprague Jun 13, 2007 02:43 PM

                                                                                                                                      i can't speak from a restaurant owner/worker's perspective, but have been on the other end -- as a customer -- twice. the first time was about 15 or so years ago, it was a ridiculously snowy night and the restaurant was in the far far west village in manhattan -- and they accepted cash only, which i didn't realize. they simply took my phone number and information and accepted my promise that i would return with cash -- which i did, the next day.

                                                                                                                                      about a year ago, i had a similar experience -- but forgot my wallet altogether. the manager of the place (a different place, obviously) took my cell phone number and trusted me to return, which, again, i did the next day.

                                                                                                                                      not the most scintillating tales, i realize, but it seems like a lot of places are reasonably trusting....

                                                                                                                                      1. a
                                                                                                                                        aelph Jun 13, 2007 02:39 PM

                                                                                                                                        I imagine the restaurant has the customer arrested.

                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: aelph
                                                                                                                                          Bite Me Jun 14, 2007 12:14 AM

                                                                                                                                          Not if they want the customer to come back! The other customers don't need to see the police come in -- also not good for business. And, why waste everyone's time and resources, including the cops, to arrest a guy for something that is probably less than $100.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bite Me
                                                                                                                                            jlawrence01 Jun 14, 2007 06:25 AM

                                                                                                                                            It depends.

                                                                                                                                            If someone goes up to the cashier and realizes that they don't have the money to pay, usually, the person will leave a credit card or their name and phone number. In that case, the restaurant owner will generally ask them to come back and pay for the meal later. The would have that happen about one a week, especially among elderly and younger customer. And they would generally come back (and be embarrassed.

                                                                                                                                            On the other hand, if the customer runs out without paying, most restaurant owners WILL call the local police. Most police departments (outside of the large cities) will get involved and take the report and generally will talk with the people.

                                                                                                                                            And then there was my favorite story. I was working as a carhop 20+ years ago at a family restaurant. Someone had a carryout order. As soon as I handed the guy the food, he peeled out and spead out of the parking lot without paying ... and ran right into the local police department cruiser. Guy was charged with reckless driving, resisting arrest, and petty theft. What an expensive dinner!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: jlawrence01
                                                                                                                                              amandaqtpie Jun 19, 2007 03:00 AM

                                                                                                                                              heehaw! This happens everyday.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: Bite Me
                                                                                                                                              Bill Hunt Jun 25, 2013 10:04 PM

                                                                                                                                              Once, when my currency was back in my room, I left my watch, until I could return. Luckily, it was returned to me, as soon as I had paid. Maybe a good reason to have a Breitling, and not a diamond and gold Rolex?


                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                                                jrvedivici Jun 26, 2013 05:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                Mr. Hunt,
                                                                                                                                                If you have an stories of hostess's that "shook you" I would be much more appreciative than your last story.
                                                                                                                                                Thank you in advance,


                                                                                                                                                1. re: jrvedivici
                                                                                                                                                  Bill Hunt Jun 26, 2013 09:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                  None. The host took my watch, and then returned it, when I arrived back at the restaurant, with my cash.


                                                                                                                                          Show Hidden Posts