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bizarre situation at Cafe D'Alsace

So last night we went to Cafe d'Alsace for dinner. Probably go there about once a month I'd say. We always sit and eat at the bar. Last night there was a new bartender, nice enough gal but she knew zero about the beers and the menu, and kept apologizing for not being able to answer any questions - in fact she gave me incorrect information about several beers I asked about specifically. She went to get a sommelier and then returned and told me "oh they are AWOL." But I digress...

We finish, and ask her for the check and it's $95.54. I hand her a $100 dollar bill. She gives me back $4.00. Now I realize that $.46 is not a big deal, but still I said "I think you owe me 46 cents." She says "oh it's our policy not to give change change." (change change meaning coins). i said oh it's your policy just to keep my money? She said "well if it's under 50 cents we don't give change, if it's over 50 cents we usually do." I said "how on earth is that your decision to make? If I go to a store and pay for something, the store gives me back the correct change...how is this different?" She is rolling her eyes at me like I'm nuts. She gets the 46 cents. I leave a normal decent tip and as we're putting on our coats, I see her at the end of the bar sort of laughing and looking at us and telling the manager what happened. So i go over there and say to the manager "is it your policy to pocket people's change?" He said "oh we just figure people will deduct it from the tip or just round it into the tip." I said "that is outrageous - it is my decision how and what to tip - not yours." "He mumbles something about how they don't always have change around." Anyway thought I'd see if y'all have had this happen to you anywhere, and what you think about it. I think it's insane.

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    1. Never had that happened to me. I would have been mad as well.

      It almost seems like one of those reality shows to see how the customer reacts.

      It's thievery plain and simple. And I bet with most people they get away with it.

      Would be funny tho if you go there again, have the same bartender and the bill comes out to <for ex:> $ 77. 61 pay 77$, when she comes back looking for the change mention you only like to pay round figures. LOL!

      2 Replies
        1. re: gutsofsteel

          I am going to eat there next week and dot it!!!

      1. This is an incredibly stupid policy. If they wanted to be smart, they'd not give you change change by giving you more change, ie. $5 instead of $4. Then you'd feel good and leave a bigger tip. Instead, they succeeded in pissing you off. Or they made you a regular credit card user, which means they get to pay for the transaction fee. Brilliant move on their part, either way.

        1. The same thing happened to me over drinks at Asia de Cuba in December. They "don't do" change change. Needless to say, I made my displeasure known and cut the tip. Quite frankly, I don't think they cared.

          I agree, it seems insane to me. And like dump123456789 said, it seems to be a stupid business move. But then again, I suppose in my case they probably just figured I wasn't the type they wanted anyway. Well, they got that right as I won't ever return there.

          2 Replies
          1. re: LNG212

            Isn't it illegal not to "do change" if the bill isn't a rounded dollar figure? (I'm just realizing this is a year-old thread, but I'm still interested in knowing the answer.)

            1. re: LindaWhit

              At the time, I wondered the same thing. I guess it's perfectly legal if they are rounding in the customer's favor. But in my case (and the OP's it seems), the bars/restaurants are rounding in their *own* favor. In that case, no matter how small the amount, it seems to me to be stealing. But I have no idea about the actual law on the subject.

          2. There have been a few threads on this before...here's one:

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/669650

            1 Reply