Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Mar 22, 2008 09:21 AM

My first Eat and Run!

Greetings All!

I was at Sam Woos on valley and 6th last night with the family.

there was this guy just got seated next to us. I heard him order four items off the menu, thought it was strange.

He was always looking around and getting up four/five times to get his own water.

Then, he got a bit pushy with the waiter when his soup didn't arrive!

About twenty minutes later, it got really busy. I saw him get up and walk quickly to front....then OUT the door he went. I was about to mention this to the waiters, when the gal at the table next to me told them.

First time I ever saw this happen. Ya gotta be pretty ballsy, or pretty stupid.

What is the term used for this "eat and run"? I heard it before and forgot.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. We used to call this "bearding the joint." Probably not what you're looking for...

        1. I prefer the term "dine and dash." While the offense certainly can be prosecuted as a petty theft, there is a descriptive subsection in the California Penal Code known as "defrauding an innkeeper."

          Would have made a better story if he had asked for and filled take-out containers!

          1. I remember my father-in-law telling a story when he and a gang of friends were down and out between jobs in NYC in the forties (ironworkers). Two of them ate a simple meal in a simple joint, but without any money. After the meal they purposely started a fistfight between them. The owner promptly threw them out, forgetting about their tabs (it was for perhaps $3). Mission accomplished.

            6 Replies
            1. re: porker

              Great story - that was a survival skill. And I don't have any great problem with someone stealing because they were hungry. (As with the homeless person who does it and might actually want to be locked up afterwards). But in most cases it is just nasty fraud, getting away with putting it over someone because one can.

              I'm sure the owner was relieved to get rid of them!

              And in some cases it is not actually such petty theft!

              1. re: lagatta

                The larger issue is that most restaurants hold the server accountable. So when "you" run out on a check, it's not the owner who is losing the wholesale value of the meal, but the server who must pay for the retail value out of their earnings. I've never understood how and why owners get away with this, but it's standard practice in most restaurants.

                1. re: wutzizname

                  When I was young and even dumber about men than I am now, a boyfriend offered to take me to a relatively nice place for my birthday. I was thrilled, until, when we were actually on the way, he told me "Oh, I don't have any $$ so when the bill comes I'll go into the bathroom and you just leave..."

                  I don't think so. No way will I participate in that, I replied. We ended up going to McDonalds, which I think I paid for. That was the end of that relationship.

                  There are some things you just don't do.

                  1. re: wutzizname

                    It's a harsh policy but I understand why the resto owners do it. Otherwise dishonest servers would comp meals to their friends and family. (Not as tho' they don't do it now anyway, but at least this is a tool for accountability.) That said, were I a resto owner, I would at least spilt the thief's bill with the server.

                  2. re: lagatta

                    It's not okay for people to steal because they have no money. There are places they can go for that.


                    1. re: Davwud

                      Not always. And I certainly don't justify dishonesty - I do justify survival.