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Sep 21, 2007 10:30 AM

Waiter changed tip

I need some advice, please.

My partner and I dined at a chain steak house near my home in a college town. We purchased a "Monday and Tuesday only" special, so our meals totalled a modest $16.11. I knew we had a slightly reduced meal, so I tipped $3.89 to round my bill to $20.00, even though the service was average.

When I balanced my credit cards (which happens to be a platinum AMEX), I see that they charged me $20.11. While it is only 11 cents, should I contact the management that this type of behavior is intolerable or should I just let it go? While I am tempted to write a letter, I would also hate to have this kid decide to come find me or my home for retribution on a small amount if I leave an address for a response. So how can I get my point across effectively?

Many thanks, in advance, for your advice.

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    1. Call amex and challenge it. forget dealing with the restaurant on it- they'll find out the hard way.

      1. I think a polite e-mail or note to the management would be in order. Just something describing the situation so that it is brought to the manager's attention. I think it's really the principal of the thing. It doesn't matter if it is 11 cents or 11 dollars this type of thing is completely unacceptable and may be a trend at this particular restaurant that the management is unaware of. They will probably put a swift end to this practice.

        1. There have been various threads relating to this issue in the past. The way i understand it is that when the restaurant gets authorization for your credit card charge, they include an estimated amount for the tip (in your case $4), so that they can be sure the total amount will go through. The actual amount then gets reconciled with the estimated amount within the next couple days. so i would probably wait a couple days and check my account again before bothering to write a letter.

          2 Replies
          1. re: cookie monster

            That's exactly the way it works. Relax. It'll come through as a credit and then the correct amount debited.

            1. re: birgator

              Excellent point, Cookie Monster... my business uses authorizations as well and I have given that explanation to frustrated customers a number of times. I am embarrassed that I didn't think of it that way. I will heed my usual advice to my customers and wait to see the final CC bill.

          2. help from the resto workers please. before everyone throws the server under the bus.

            Is the "0" next to the "1" on the charge machine and could the waiter incorrectly have hit two "1"s instead of two "0"s when he closed the check?

            11 Replies
              1. re: jfood

                My exact thoughts... 0s and 1s get mixed up all the time.

                1. re: jfood

                  Yeah, I was going to suggest the same thing. It's a pretty small mistake, and it likely was a mistake. I know the principle is frustrating, but how much time is it going to take on your part to correct it BenT?

                  1. re: jfood

                    as a bartender I assure you, the 0 and the 1 are NOT even close to each other.. it goes 123, 456, 789 and 0 on the bottom, like a phones touchpad,

                    1. re: gryphonskeeper

                      oh well trying to give benefit of the doubt. so we move from simple error to stupid error.

                      Next thought. Does the server key in the total of the check after the tip and the machine calculates the tip or does the server key in the tip and the machine calculates the total?

                      jfood still having a brain cramp thinking that anyone would try to steal $0.11.

                        1. re: hotoynoodle


                          so on some the 0 might be 1 as well or only which is an input and which is the computer calculated amount

                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                            The credit card machine I use is laid out like a calculator so 7, 8, and 9 are on top and zero on the bottom. I've never seen a machine with 1, 2, and 3 on top laid out like a phone.

                        2. re: gryphonskeeper

                          I don't know if this were the case here, but at my work digits are used constantly both from computer/printers as well as in the written form. In written hand, the 0s and 1s are constantly a problem...

                          1. re: gryphonskeeper

                            I disagree gryphonskeeper. I contend that while that may be the layout on *your* system, it would depends on the POS used by that restaurant. It could be a Micros, a PC-based system, an IBM, who knows. While there certainly does seem to be dominance in the POS market, you can't assume everyone has the same as yours.

                            I once had to use a keyboard that was made for a foreign language; the keys were *completely* not where I expected them, and it made typing extremely challenging; a server who's used to one POS suddenly using a new one may have had a similar challenge.

                            Either way, I seriously wouldn't worry about 11 cents. Noone would risk getting fired for 11 cents; they would have done that on a larger check for more money. I'd imagine it was a mistake or side effect of the charge card system.

                          2. re: jfood

                            Thanks for that one! Who's to say that it was the waiter who changed it? Often it's the manager or owner who closes off the credit card batch at the end of the night, so it could have been someone else. Why are we (you, not me) so quick to blame the "evil" waiter(s)?