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"Customer Dubbed Poor Tipper Refused Service"

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gloriousfood Feb 25, 2010 03:50 PM

http://www.ktvu.com/hollywood-vine/22...

I have mixed feelings about this. But I really would like to know how much this woman tipped to result in such a ban. According to the video, she had been going to this restaurant "for years" so also unclear why the restaurant would do this now?

I feel this is an ill-advised business practice.

Thoughts?

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  1. d
    duck833 Feb 25, 2010 04:12 PM

    I think a business should have the right to refuse service to anyone unless it violates the standard discrimination exceptions.

    If a customer is not pleasant or is rude you should be able to deep six them. If they don't tip then deep six them. The danger in doing this of course is you might be left with no customers.

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    1. re: duck833
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      soonerhound Feb 26, 2010 05:56 PM

      I agree with this.

      Whether or not tipping is a social contract, an agreement between a patron and a restaurant to trade food for money is an actual contract. No private person or business has a "right" to contract with anyone else. The business here decided the costs of doing business with this customer outweighed the benefits!

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    2. invinotheresverde Feb 25, 2010 07:25 PM

      I think this is awesome!

      She can complain all she wants. This isn't racism. This isn't sexism, etc. This is a direct result of her cheapness. She says she's angry because she's being treated differently than other people, but if she's not willing to conform to tipping standards, she's acting differently. She has to accept responsibility for her actions.

      It takes some seriously awful tips in order for staff to refuse to wait on you, especially for the owners to get behind it. Think about it- the owners aren't even willing to take her money. That's really telling.

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      1. re: invinotheresverde
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        fourunder Feb 26, 2010 09:15 AM

        I'll be the first one to tell you the customer is not always right....but I also believe you should serve anyone and everyone, unless of course they have caused problems on a repeated basis. These people cannot be pleased and should be banned.

        I purposely did not read the attached link before posting ......because immediately, I was reminded of the story of an old man who always looked a little disheveled who used to come into a small diner in some small town, USA. He used to leave small tips and eventually all the waitresses (older women), but one, refused to wait on the old man. The one who did wait on him every time he stopped into the diner was a younger girl. The story cited how this young girl still made a point of treating him kindly like he was a family member.......the end of the story is, when the old man passed, he left his fortune entirely to the young girl......which was in the millions.

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        1. re: fourunder
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          lisa13 Feb 26, 2010 09:29 AM

          well that is a charming story. I don't buy it, but even if I did, it doesn't explain or in any way excuse his treatment of those servers.

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          1. re: lisa13
            invinotheresverde Feb 26, 2010 10:29 AM

            Exactly.

            And, in my opinion, continually leaving what has got to be a terrible tip IS causing problems on a regular basis, fourunder. The tip is part of the cost of the meal. If, time and time again, this woman doesn't feel she needs to pay the tip, she wouldn't be welcome in my restaurant, either.

            Also, rewarding one waitress doesn't make up for the poor treatment of the others.

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            1. re: invinotheresverde
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              James Cristinian Feb 26, 2010 10:50 AM

              I was at one of my favorite restaurants and a couple of the women there were comparing paychecks, they were both under 10 dollars. These people work for tips, it's their livelihood. Why shoud they work for free? They've shared some of the horror stories of dealing with rude customers. I work retail, fortunately I rarely deal with the public, but I've been cursed out by entitled customers for something that is no fault of mine.

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              1. re: invinotheresverde
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                fourunder Feb 26, 2010 11:56 AM

                i and j,

                While I am usually in agreement with both of you on many issues, here I will have to disagree. Plain and simple, tips are optional.... there is no social contract to leave anything. If this were true, then you would not have so many people leaving what is considered a bad tip for perceived miscues, instead of a 15% minimum.. In my youth when I worked bars or nightclubs, more patrons did not leave tips, then did leave tips. At the end of the night, 10% of the draw was the norm....which was fine, because the draw was always big, so the tips were more than acceptable in the end.

                As a past worker, manager and owner.....I can tell you I always believed things balanced out in the end. You get stiffed today, but tomorrow someone leaves you an exceptionally generous tip for no apparent reason. I never lost any sleep when someone did not leave something. invino...you can correct me if i am wrong, but I do not believe you have ever been an owner, correct? While I agree owner's should do their best to make a pleasant workplace for all their staff....the simple truth is they cannot guarantee you will be left a tip. Unless the house guarantees you will make a certain amount each shift, that's the chance you take as a server. In the end, the house has to make money to be successful for all. If you turn away a customer, you lose dollars......sometimes that's a necessary thing to do, as I have indicated earlier, but as an owner, I would expect you to serve everyone who comes through the door, unless I direct you otherwise. For me the decision is an owner's prerogative, not a manager or any employee.... I can tell you stories of a certain group of people that are known not to ever leave tips ....yes, it's a stereotype, but if they were ever banned, it would not be worth it in the end to deal with the decision to do so.....This is from actual experiences

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                1. re: fourunder
                  jfood Feb 26, 2010 12:20 PM

                  Usually Invino and jfood disagree so this is a rarity.

                  1) Plain and simple, tips are optional - totally agree (enter social contract versus must do's) and the reason that the US has tips versus service charge is the subject of a different thread and many do-loops
                  2) There is no social contract to leave anything - Optionality and social contract are two separate items. You show up at a place knowing that a tip is expected you have entered into a social contract
                  3) If this were true, then you would not have so many people leaving what is considered a bad tip for perceived miscues instead of a 15% minimum- a contract has two parties, each expected to perform. Miscues on one side can be met with reduction on the other

                  Jfood agrees that the owner makes the final decision on who gets served, and in this case the employees told the owner they would not serve this customer. Owner sided with the employees. As jfood stated somewhere on this thread, he thinks the owner should have told the customer of the issue, told her that if there was a problem that she should reach out to him, but if the service was up to par, he would hope that she left at least a 15% tip. Then if she did not, he could tell her that her next visit would have the fixed + surcharge 18%. Then when the reporter shows up he says, "I tried to work with her but she continued to refuse to leave a tip."

                  Without that jfood would bet that the service would eventual reach equilibrium with the tip, that water glass is slow for refill, when the veggies and shrimp started getting divied up her plate hers would be a little short changed, a little extra salt on her portion, the hostess would lead her to a less than perfect area, all kinds of soft ftuff would happen to her.

                  You show up and disrespect the restaurant and its staff, do not expect warm and fuzzies. It's a good rule in life, treat people how you want to be treated.

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                  1. re: jfood
                    bayoucook Feb 27, 2010 06:56 AM

                    Agreed. If one cannot afford to, or is unwilling to tip, eat at home.
                    If they paid servers a higher wage it would simply be reflected in the prices on the menus, thus not giving the servers any incentive to do an excellent job. The system works except for cheapskates.

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                  2. re: fourunder
                    Azizeh Feb 26, 2010 12:32 PM

                    I agree that a server needs to do their job, but as a manager, you have to protect your staff, otherwise you wont have one. Unless you hire high school kids and expect nothing from them, your staff wont work for minimum wage alone. Sure, the house gets its money for whatever items are sold, but the negative morale costs more than what you'd lose by telling a notorious stiffer to not come back. I'm not talking about a certain race of people that tends to tip badly, I'm talking about an individual person who constantly leaves little to nothing.

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                    1. re: Azizeh
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                      fourunder Feb 26, 2010 12:39 PM

                      A,

                      I with you for the most part, but consider this......employees can be replaced.....reputations cannot. If my choice is to serve someone who doesn't tip, or live with the consequences of banning such person and in the process.....receive backlash from customers, negative press in the papers, internet or television.....plus 300 people who signed a petition to boycott.....the decision is easy for me......I'll take a twenty out of my pocket and let the server order lobster....

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                      1. re: fourunder
                        jfood Feb 26, 2010 02:16 PM

                        Every business decision has customers happy or upset. Let's hope that when the people who signed the petition see this they will call her up and tell her to get her butt to that place, apologize and give them some money for past stiffings. Yeah right, but jfood can hope.

                        But mybe they will have the common courtesy to call the owner and apologize that they were not given the whole story before they signed the petition. Jfood hopes for the greater good on this one. Hopefully there is a report back in a few weeks.

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                        1. re: fourunder
                          Azizeh Feb 26, 2010 04:22 PM

                          I work for one of the most successful restaurants in the country and management regularly asks people who don't tip not to return.

                          With that being said, I understand that most places don't have the same reputation as we do and the bad press could hurt them.

                          I'm wondering what the opinion is of this, outside of the food world where we all act pretty decent in restaurants.

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                          1. re: fourunder
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                            StheJ Feb 27, 2010 08:54 AM

                            The only folks who are going to be offended by a restaurant banning a bad tipper are other bad tippers. Let them boycott the restaurant...

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                            1. re: StheJ
                              thew Feb 27, 2010 05:01 PM

                              i am an overly generous tipper. i'm completely offended by this story.

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                              1. re: thew
                                thirtyeyes Feb 28, 2010 09:06 PM

                                Why?

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                                1. re: thirtyeyes
                                  thew Mar 1, 2010 04:08 AM

                                  because i find adding an 18% gratuity for a party of 3 when the menu lists 15% for a party of 6 outrageous.

                                  but mostly because, given the article, which is all the info most of us have had in this thread, is inconclusive, but people are jumping to conclusions.

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                                  1. re: thew
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                                    DGresh Mar 1, 2010 04:30 AM

                                    Yes I agree with this point; regardless of how *later* information we've seen reflects on the situation, I think the original information *as presented* was ambiguous as to fault. And to those who say "well it was just obvious what was going on" I might say that keeping an open mind as to two sides of a story is always valuable. However bad she looks with further information, that information was not in the original story.

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                        2. re: fourunder
                          Azizeh Feb 26, 2010 12:35 PM

                          I agree, but this woman is constantly tipping badly and is a regular in the place. If the service was awful, she wouldn't be back so often that they know her face. She's not tipping based on service, she's just a bad tipper.

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                          1. re: fourunder
                            Chris VR Feb 26, 2010 04:43 PM

                            Tips are not optional.

                            Dining out is optional. If someone doesn't want to support a system depending on tips for service, that's certainly their choice. They can stay home and make and serve their own food.

                            If that person dines out in the US, however, tips are a required part of the system. Again, nobody says they have to like or agree with the system. But if they choose to join the system, they need to follow the rules. If they don't tip, the server who serves their table doesn't get paid for the work they've done. The server has done their part of the job, the customer is expected to do theirs.

                            If a restaurant decides to send that message loud and clear in such a way, kudos to them. I wish more places would do it.

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                            1. re: Chris VR
                              Sam Fujisaka Feb 26, 2010 06:12 PM

                              C VR, I was reading the posts to see if anyone had a viewpoint like mine. Several do more or less. You posted pretty much exactly what I would have written, however.

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                              1. re: Chris VR
                                bayoucook Feb 27, 2010 06:57 AM

                                Agreed!

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                              2. re: fourunder
                                invinotheresverde Feb 26, 2010 09:24 PM

                                " In the end, the house has to make money to be successful for all. If you turn away a customer, you lose dollars......"

                                Agreed. That's why this woman must have been an extreme case. The owners weren't even willing to take her money (unless she adhered to the gratuity). Not many owners would risk losing a regular ($$$) just to keep their staff happy. For that to happen, this woman must really have continuously left almost nothing.

                                Also, if your whole wait staff is refusing to serve her, what are you going to do? Fire them all?

                                Also, it was more common not to tip, or tip less, back in your day. Today, people tip an acceptable amount for acceptable service. Who doesn't do that? Only those who don't deserve to dine out. Maybe this will eventually give this woman a clue: if she's been leaving atrociously bad tips for no reason, her behavior is deplorable.

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                                1. re: fourunder
                                  alanbarnes Mar 1, 2010 07:58 AM

                                  There's no legal requirement that a customer tip, but there's no legal requirement that a restaurant serve a deadbeat customer, either. It's the customer's decision whether to tip and the restaurant's decision whether to seat her.

                                  In this case, the owner decided that this particular customer was so much trouble that he wouldn't seat her unless she agreed to tip appropriately. While you may believe that that was a bad business decision, the 1000 people who've signed the petition supporting the restaurant disagree with you. And at least some of those who signed the original petition are upset that their signatures were obtained under false pretenses.

                                  So your "actual experience" seems inconsistent with what the actual facts of this situation. If I lived in Winston-Salem I'd certainly make a point of patronizing Kanpai, and any other place that has the stones to stand up to abusive customers like Ms. Covington.

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                                  1. re: alanbarnes
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                                    fourunder Mar 1, 2010 08:55 AM

                                    a,

                                    Where exactly did you read from any of my comments I specifically disagreed with the decision to ban Ms Covington. I only threw out hypothetical situations. My original comment specifically stated I did not read the link, but relayed a story. Maybe you missed this sentence...

                                    If you turn away a customer, you lose dollars......sometimes that's a necessary thing to do, as I have indicated earlier,

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                                    1. re: fourunder
                                      alanbarnes Mar 1, 2010 09:12 AM

                                      I was more focused on the bit about how "it would not be worth it in the end to deal with the decision" to refuse service to a group. But on reading more carefully I see that you're not talking about a few individuals, but a broader class. I also missed your comment about it occasionally being "a necessary thing to do." Sounds like we're on the same page. Sorry for not reading your post more carefully.

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                                      1. re: alanbarnes
                                        Bluemold Mar 1, 2010 09:43 AM

                                        As odd as it sounds, there are times when it is appropriate to "fire" a customer.

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                                2. re: invinotheresverde
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                                  fourunder Feb 26, 2010 12:01 PM

                                  i,

                                  Maybe you missed it, but my comments above said I made them purposely without reading the story. I wasn't defending anyone or the practice of stiffing servers.

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                                3. re: lisa13
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                                  fourunder Feb 26, 2010 11:31 AM

                                  It was reported in Dear Abby.....it must be true.

                                  http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid...

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                                  1. re: lisa13
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                                    fourunder Feb 26, 2010 12:06 PM

                                    I'm sorry...it wasn't millions, it was $500,000

                                    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid...

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                                    1. re: fourunder
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                                      KTinNYC Feb 26, 2010 12:22 PM

                                      And none of the other servers treated him poorly.

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                                      1. re: KTinNYC
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                                        fourunder Feb 26, 2010 12:33 PM

                                        Give me a break ......the story was from over 17 years ago.....and I may have read a different account in another newsrag. You should be impressed I can even recall the story from so long ago.

                                        :-)

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                                  2. re: fourunder
                                    jfood Feb 26, 2010 10:47 AM

                                    There are many definitions of "caused problems." It does not always mean carved bad words into the table top. If they have not lived up to their end of the social contract, many people, including jfood would include that in a bannable offense bucket.

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                                    1. re: fourunder
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                                      Muskrat Feb 26, 2010 09:30 PM

                                      That's the line I use when stiffing waitresses: "Just wait 'til I'm dead!"

                                      They often volunteer to help me along.

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                                      1. re: fourunder
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                                        StheJ Feb 27, 2010 08:50 AM

                                        I just don't buy this story either... But even if it's true, what kind of a person would give 500k to someone they didn't know but not a decent tip for an actual service that they recieved? Answer = a jerk.

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                                        1. re: fourunder
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                                          gryphonskeeper Mar 2, 2010 04:47 PM

                                          snopes.com its a myth. But as a bartender I do hate cheapskates who order frozen or elaborate drinks and do not tip. HOWEVER, I do have several regulars who I know are falling on hard times and they leave very meager tips if any at all, Those I don't mind serving with a smile because they are nice, they order an easy drink, and they talk to me like a friend. There are often people in the biz who are "high maintenance" service wise and "low rent" mentality. I do not care how much you earn, but when you talk down to me, and demand I treat you like a queen, then you leave a no tip... it is hard to crack a smile next time I see you.

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                                        givemecarbs Feb 25, 2010 07:42 PM

                                        Right off the top of my head I thought: I wonder if this would happen in Europe? My second thought is why go where you aren't welcome? The whole mess makes me glad that I am cooking at home more.

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                                        1. re: givemecarbs
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                                          Harters Feb 26, 2010 05:16 AM

                                          "I wonder if this would happen in Europe?"

                                          Short answer is no. We take a generally different cultural attitude to tipping on this side of the Atlantic (and to the employment position/rights of restaurant staff). In some countries (like Belgium & France) a tip is never required or expected. In others, depending on national custom, a service charge may be levied or a tip expected, but it is *always* a voluntary matter - and many folk do not pay it.

                                          That said, it is an absolute right of a restaurant to refuse future service, except for reasons which contravene a country's specific discrimination laws.

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                                          1. re: Harters
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                                            givemecarbs Feb 27, 2010 12:00 AM

                                            Thanks Harters, that is what I thought. Another thing I have heard about your side of the Atlantic is that people can linger at their table and not feel rushed because the staff wants to fill the table again quickly. Is that generally true? At least the manager was upfront with her. I can think of ways the situation could have turned really ugly if he had let her in and then she received appalling service. Again, I can't imagine why the heck she would ever want to eat there again. Thank you for the insight on why this might have happened soupkitten I always enjoy your posts.

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                                            1. re: givemecarbs
                                              goodhealthgourmet Feb 27, 2010 10:04 PM

                                              servers here in the States want to turn tables because since they earn minimum wage, they count on tips for the bulk of their earnings...so the greater the number of separate parties they wait on in a given service, the more money they'll hopefully/likely earn via tips.

                                              servers across the pond, however, make good salaries, which is why tipping is optional and not really all that common. of course the restaurant owners and managers still want to ring up as many meals as possible to generate revenue, but the servers aren't driven to do it by a desire for tips.

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                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
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                                                just_M Feb 27, 2010 11:16 PM

                                                Some states have server wages set well below minimum wage. I was pretty shocked when I moved from CA to AZ and the server wage in AZ was $2.18hr in 1998. At that rate you need to turn tables and make great tips just to make a living.

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                                                1. re: just_M
                                                  m
                                                  morwen Feb 28, 2010 04:23 AM

                                                  Server wage here in VA is $2.18/hr today, 2010

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                                                  1. re: just_M
                                                    goodhealthgourmet Feb 28, 2010 07:52 AM

                                                    i meant to say minimum wage *at most* - sorry. yes, it's higher here in CA...in many other states it's no more than a couple of dollars.

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                                                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                    maplesugar Mar 1, 2010 11:46 AM

                                                    Minimum wage up here(Alberta Canada) is $8.80/hr for all employees, servers included - rates vary by province and ours is one of the if not the lowest in the country. The minimum is just a floor though...it's not unheard of for starting hourly to be $10.50/$11/hr though. I don't feel the same need to tip as I do when visiting the US but $8-11/hr barely makes ends meet so I usually start at 15%.

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                                            2. jfood Feb 26, 2010 06:45 AM

                                              It's interesting when you view the video. She is looking for "fairness" but it is unclear what the historical tipping pattern has been. The interview with the owner was very short and they did not ask / answer that question. And they did not ask her the question either...bad reporting / cutting. If she has been a customer for years and has either stiffed or SIGNIFICANTLY undertipped, the first step should have been a discussion between the owner and the customer to resolve. If that did not work, then the restaurant did the absolute correct thing. There is a social contract when you eat in a restaurant and she may have violated it. Jfood only wonders how she phrased the events to get 300 signatures.

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                                              1. re: jfood
                                                d
                                                DGresh Feb 26, 2010 08:09 AM

                                                though I agree this was very poorly reported (or edited), I got the impression that her definiition of "unfair" was that the restaurant says on its menu that it automatically adds 15% for large parties, and that not only is her party not large, but it also is charging her 18% (rather than 15%). While I do think there's probably a big "back story" on her past behavior that was not really reported, I can see the issue of "where'd this extra 3% come from".

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                                                1. re: DGresh
                                                  jfood Feb 26, 2010 09:44 AM

                                                  Always hard to claim that you should be part of the crowd crossing the streetwhen you have run alone across the street so often in the past

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                                              2. j
                                                James Cristinian Feb 26, 2010 08:04 AM

                                                I only tip fifteen percent for basic, unremarkable service, usually twenty for good, and more like twenty five if I am a regular. If this woman is too cheap to pony up 18 percent, she should stick to the drive through. I wonder how many other waiters at area restaurants she has stiffed.

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                                                1. thew Feb 26, 2010 08:59 AM

                                                  if i'm reading this correctly, then she is right, and this restaurant does not understand its business.

                                                  she has every right to tip or not tip. personally i'm a big tipper, and think people who do not tip well have a serious issue. but that's neither here nor there. If the place has a policy, stated on the menu that parties over 6 people will be charged 15% they have no clear right to charging her when she has a party of 3 people, nor do they have a clear right to charge her 18% when others are being charged 15%. (and yes they do have a "right" to do as they please within reason, but you know what i mean) These charges should be applied across the board or not at all.

                                                  as to whether or not this is discrimination, we don't really know. We would have to see that they either did or did not impose the same policy in the same situations with people of different ethnicities, or whatever sort of discrimination is being claimed. I don;t know, and neither do you.

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                                                  1. re: thew
                                                    thirtyeyes Feb 28, 2010 09:28 PM

                                                    I am not a lawyer but I'm guessing "frugal" is not a protected class.

                                                    Unless the menu specifically states otherwise, a person has a right to tip or not to tip. A restaurant has a right to refuse service as long as the refusal is not based upon the usual HR stuff.

                                                    I don't begrudge either side their decision, however, I'm going to vote with the restaurant.

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                                                    LJBTampa Feb 26, 2010 09:34 AM

                                                    I know there are multiple posts on this board about tipping. People have varied opinions about the custom. But really, if a tip is mandatory, is it really a tip related to service? What's the point?

                                                    As a rule, I tip 20-25%. I understand why restaurants include a tip on a large party. If a restaurant automatically includes an 18% tip for a small party, then that's all they get. Sorry, and I won't be back.

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                                                    1. j
                                                      James Cristinian Feb 26, 2010 12:44 PM

                                                      This woman falls into the class of some of my co-workers, either cheap, or cluless. This is the reason why I quit going to lunch with many of them, failure to tip or leaving a miserable one. On one occasion, I was walking out the door for lunch and one of them asked where I was going, so to scare him off, I mentioned an upper moderate place. He went along, and on his 19.95 entree, not to mention the iced tea, he offered a twenty. I got him to pay for his tax and tea, but I ate his portion of the tip. The same thing happened before with a group of three others. I go to these places often, so I end up paying for the ignorance of others. Now when they ask, and since I live near work, I lie and tell them I'm going home foir lunch.

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                                                      1. s
                                                        soupkitten Feb 26, 2010 01:11 PM

                                                        no. . . . *bad* soupkitten. . . . don't reply to another tipping thread, dummy!!!

                                                        argh. too late. i'd just like to point out that the establishment is pretty obviously a teppanyaki joint, where the tips are split between a *team* of folks which includes the table's chef and multiple servers. the tips at such places are higher, due to the very theatrical nature of this type of restaurant service. a very poor tipper would *very much* stand out apart from the norm at an establishment like this, and as a regular s/he would create problems, including the teppanyaki chefs trying to foist her party off on each other's tables or refusing to serve her, or when forced to serve her party, refusing to do the "tricks" and theatrics that earn them tips. how awkward and uncomfortable, if a teppanyaki chef only "performed" for the party of three seated to his left, and gave the party seated to his right the cold shoulder! i could see it becoming a very sticky labor situation for the owner, and i could see why he would side with his staff. as usual a one-size-fits-all solution is inappropriate, every restaurant is different.

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                                                        1. re: soupkitten
                                                          j
                                                          James Cristinian Feb 26, 2010 01:35 PM

                                                          I will say that this 'splains a lot. Great post.

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                                                          1. re: soupkitten
                                                            Azizeh Feb 26, 2010 04:25 PM

                                                            I was about to say the same thing.

                                                            I have a friend that works in sushi restaurants and she says that it is common practice to split the tip 50/50 with the sushi chefs. I'm wondering what the breakdown is at a place where the cooking is done table side.

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                                                            1. re: Azizeh
                                                              meatn3 Feb 27, 2010 05:48 PM

                                                              I was a server at a Japanese Steakhouse place where the cooking was done table side.

                                                              Your tips were deposited into a locked box with your name on it under the watchful eye of the book keeper. At the end of the night you and the book keeper counted your tips. 50% went to the cook. Then 10% of the total went to the bartender (even if there had been no alcohol ordered). Bus staff got a set percentage. Runners got what ever you wished to give them. By the end of the night there really wasn't much - which is why I was there for such a short time.

                                                              Tips are tricky in this type of place since they tend to draw big groups and big drinkers. Most times the more they drink, the less the math skills remain. In my experience, the clientele were not that experienced at dining out. They go to this type place for the show - kind of like the old dinner theaters.

                                                              The cooks in this type of place have a lot of power. Many have a very strong fan base of repeat customers who ask for "their" chef by name. The cook is the show, the food is secondary. I can totally see how this situation in Winston-Salem could happen.

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                                                          2. t
                                                            TexSquared Feb 26, 2010 06:14 PM

                                                            A restaurant is private property. Even if there's no clear sign (a la Soup Nazi) that says "We reserve the right to refuse service to anybody", they can do this. Any business can make a choice not to take your money, in which case they owe you no product or service.

                                                            Restaurants may have a "no shoes no shirt no service" sign or a "no smoking" sign. Same thing. You don't want to play by the rules of the establishment and want to go in without shoes, without a shirt, insist you be allowed to smoke, or in this case, not pay tips, it's private property, they have the right to exclude you from the establishment.

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                                                            1. j
                                                              JRicher Feb 26, 2010 08:02 PM

                                                              Unfortunately the article/video doesn't give the whole story. This made the news (I live in W-S) because the woman knows a reporter for a local station. The petition was brought to church and signed by the congregation under false pretenses. But that doesn't matter so much as the fact that this woman is a regular at a teppanyaki restaurant, one that has impeccable service and great reviews, and she is known by the staff as someone who doesn't tip, is rude and demanding and just not nice to be around. The owner of Kanpai is just trying to keep his restaurant a pleasant place for the employees and customers alike. I say if she doesn't like the extra charge she should just go somewhere else.

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                                                              1. d
                                                                duck833 Feb 26, 2010 08:08 PM

                                                                If I were the owner and this particular customer is always rude, unpleasant and demanding I would simply ask them to never come again! I wouldn't care if they tipped 50%, nasty customers and clients are not worth it.

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                                                                1. re: duck833
                                                                  t
                                                                  TexSquared Feb 26, 2010 08:51 PM

                                                                  Exactly. I don't like this whole "Customer is already right" attitude that gets into some people's heads, thinking that they can whine and bitch and get preferential treatment from any business they deal with and pay nothing extra for it. Businesses do catch on to this game and, if you are not profitable to them they will make the choice to refuse to do further business with you. She obviously was not profitable to the business (and worse, to the servers getting stiffed for tips), so they made the smart choice to refuse her business and instead, serve people who are willing to tip and not be difficult to them. She can go annoy their competition instead.... and they'd be perfectly happy with that!

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                                                                2. alanbarnes Feb 26, 2010 08:42 PM

                                                                  Frankly, that's just poor journalism. Does anybody think we have the whole story here? Really? Let's posit two scenarios:

                                                                  In the first, you have the customer who never leaves a tip because "tipping is optional." These extreme versions of the ten-percenters are rare, but they do exist. And a server should not be compelled to wait on somebody who comes into a restaurant on a regular basis and always leaves zero tip. Indentured servitude went out of fashion long ago. Anybody who claims that an establishment should be forced to serve these deadbeats is seriously misguided.

                                                                  But let's have a completely different scenario. What if the server decides that a customer's ethnicity, gender, or accent makes that person unlikely to leave an appropriate tip? If a restaurant automatically tacks on an 18% service charge for all African-American customers, and refuses to seat parties that don't accede to this policy, that's a problem.

                                                                  The "journalists" who presented this story should have asked many more questions of both the customer and the owner. They didn't. As a result, either of the two scenarios above is plausible (although the truth probably lies somewhere in between). In the absence of essential facts, it's pretty difficult for anybody to have a rational opinion on this issue.

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                                                                  1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                    g
                                                                    gloriousfood Feb 27, 2010 05:02 AM

                                                                    I agree that this was poor journalism or poor editing (or both). And if JRicher is correct, that this woman knows a reporter from the local station, then is it also biased journalism.

                                                                    As I give this more thought and read others' opinions, I am definitely being swayed to the owner's side. How poorly this woman must have tipped to be refused service!

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                                                                  2. Sam Fujisaka Feb 27, 2010 06:38 AM

                                                                    I went back and watched the news clip. None of those people - the anchor, the reporter, the interviewer, the bad tipper - speak good English. In fact the Asian manager probably speaks better English than anyone else. The reporter asked him if he had, "... articulated that to her...". WTF.

                                                                    The second reporter also called teppanyaki "traditional Japanese food". As Gordon Ramsey would say, "You fvcking donkey"!

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                                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                      jfood Feb 27, 2010 06:50 AM

                                                                      Yeah, how can it be traditional Japanese without California Roll and General Tsao Chicken.

                                                                      (Insert colon, dash, close parenth)

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                                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                        meatn3 Feb 28, 2010 06:27 PM

                                                                        The reporter asked him if he had, "... articulated that to her...".

                                                                        Actually this is a fairly common regional term, used by people of varied educational levels. Many aspects of Southern speech are related to colonial English phrases. This particular usage is considered obsolete elsewhere, but still very much in use in the area where this was reported.

                                                                        Dictionary.com:
                                                                        Obsolete. to make terms of agreement.

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                                                                        1. re: meatn3
                                                                          Sam Fujisaka Mar 1, 2010 01:53 AM

                                                                          Thanks for articulating that to me. I don't want to unjustice anyone. But the reporter was using "articulated" in the sense of "said" or "told".

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                                                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                            meatn3 Mar 1, 2010 03:31 AM

                                                                            Yes, that is a very common way of using this word in NC. It specifies the need for detail in a way that said or told doesn't convey. May not be correct, but it is a widely understood regional usage.

                                                                            I tend to enjoy these variations - adds a little flavor to the "news speak" trend which is eroding the unique aspects of speech and phrase in all parts of the country.

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                                                                            1. re: meatn3
                                                                              cowboyardee Mar 2, 2010 05:47 AM

                                                                              Its common in Pennsylvania too. Never had any idea that using it to roughly mean "explain" is archaic in some pars before reading this thread.

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                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                nofunlatte Mar 2, 2010 05:57 AM

                                                                                I really don't think it's archaic. I use it in that context all the time. And while I am a former Pennsylvanian, I've been in the midwest for over 6 years now and hear it used in that way here, too.

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                                                                                1. re: nofunlatte
                                                                                  d
                                                                                  DGresh Mar 2, 2010 06:02 AM

                                                                                  Hey I've even heard it in the NYC metro area. I don't use it myself, but I don't think it's terribly strange.

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                                                                                  1. re: nofunlatte
                                                                                    s
                                                                                    soupkitten Mar 2, 2010 06:18 AM

                                                                                    common/mainstream in midwest/chicago speech too. i've also heard it used by professors at top colleges and at lecture series in this same sense, so i also don't know if the usage is all that "regional," or "obsolete," for that matter. the reporter's choice of language was not what jumped out at me about this story.

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                                                                        2. k
                                                                          KTinNYC Feb 27, 2010 06:50 AM

                                                                          Here are more details from the restaurant

                                                                          "At the time, Mrs. Monica Covington was a frequent customer. On many separate occasions, a server of our establishment attended to Mrs. Covington. Each time our server waited on Mrs. Covington no gratuity was left. Shortly after this incident, Mrs. Covington returned with a party that was originally composed of six people, which later turned to five. The same server waited upon this party and added the 15% gratuity to her bill without the manager's knowledge. When this case was pointed out to the manager, the problem was soon remedied and the gratuity removed from the bill. Even after the gratuity was removed, Mrs. Covington and her party left no gratuity. What followed shortly afterwards, on a separate occasion, Mrs. Covington returned with two or three other diners. Our Servers and even Chefs told the manager that they refused to wait on their party. The manager, in hopes of appeasing staff and customers alike, formally asked Mrs. Covington if she would mind a 15% gratuity added to her bill and was explained in detail as to the reasoning why. Our compliance with North Carolina Law, and our stated intentions in protecting our staff members and allowing Mrs. Covington to dine with us, was clearly stated and in an appropriate manner. Absolutely NO discrimination occurred whatsoever. "

                                                                          http://www.wzzm13.com/news/watercoole...

                                                                          5 Replies
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                                                                          1. re: KTinNYC
                                                                            invinotheresverde Feb 27, 2010 08:52 PM

                                                                            Seemingly, these are the facts. If this woman continuously left zero gratuity, she's an asshole. She deserves zero service. I hope every other restaurasnt in the W-S area tells her she's not welcome also.

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                                                                            1. re: invinotheresverde
                                                                              alanbarnes Feb 27, 2010 09:20 PM

                                                                              And her reporter friend, too. It'd serve him right.

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                                                                              1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                invinotheresverde Feb 27, 2010 09:34 PM

                                                                                Agreed.

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                                                                                1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                  k
                                                                                  KTinNYC Feb 28, 2010 04:30 AM

                                                                                  If it turns out the reporter really is a friend of Monica Covington's I hope he gets suspended for telling such a biased story on the air and not revealing all the facts.

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                                                                                2. re: invinotheresverde
                                                                                  jfood Feb 28, 2010 04:07 AM

                                                                                  This woman is incorrigible if the story is true about her past (and jfood would bet money it is). After using the staff as servants she then uses her Church as people to sign the petition. Maybe the pastor needs to take her into his office and explain charity and right and wrong to her.

                                                                                  Hope she's a decent cook or there is a good party store in WS for her to buy a mask to go out to eat.

                                                                                  Then again maybe she'll learn a lesson and start tipping correctly? ....nah

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                                                                              2. h
                                                                                hsk Feb 27, 2010 10:13 PM

                                                                                I think any business has to value good staff over bad customers or it won't be around very long.

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                                                                                1. alanbarnes Feb 28, 2010 08:33 AM

                                                                                  Oh, great. Now CNN is running this hack piece. Just in case you had deluded yourself into believing that there might be journalistic integrity anywhere in TV land...

                                                                                  http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2...

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                                                                                  1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                    Sam Fujisaka Feb 28, 2010 09:42 AM

                                                                                    We call CNN in Latin America, "Continually No News". I find it hard to believe that they lifted the whole piece from the local station. Someone should "articulate to" CNN that we hounds are "in agreeance" as to the "unjustice" being suffered by the restaurant!

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                                                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                      Bluemold Feb 28, 2010 09:49 AM

                                                                                      This was actually "reported" first by a local Winston-Salem station. Actually the story was so obviously slanted and flawed it created a backlash. See if this tells you something; The customer has retained legal counsel.

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                                                                                      1. re: Bluemold
                                                                                        Sam Fujisaka Feb 28, 2010 09:52 AM

                                                                                        Yes. I watched the exact same clip posted above from the WS station; and was (almnost) surprised that CNN showed it as a CNN piece with no modification, editing, better reporting, or fact checking.

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                                                                                        1. re: Bluemold
                                                                                          thew Feb 28, 2010 10:20 AM

                                                                                          what would the retention of council tell me?

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                                                                                          1. re: thew
                                                                                            k
                                                                                            KTinNYC Feb 28, 2010 11:24 AM

                                                                                            That she is definitely litigious and probably out to make a quick buck off the back of a restaurant.

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                                                                                            1. re: KTinNYC
                                                                                              thew Feb 28, 2010 12:19 PM

                                                                                              or she has a legitimate gripe of discrimination.

                                                                                              from the facts as given in the articles there is no way to know which it is, and any assumptions of the truth one way or the other r say more about the believer's belief system than the facts of the matter.

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                                                                                              1. re: thew
                                                                                                jfood Feb 28, 2010 12:28 PM

                                                                                                Oh please...jfood uses his head for more than a place to hang his hat.

                                                                                                Jfood HATES when people use the race card.

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                                                                                                1. re: jfood
                                                                                                  thew Feb 28, 2010 12:44 PM

                                                                                                  so do i. but that doesn;t mean racism doesn't exist.

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                                                                                                  1. re: thew
                                                                                                    jfood Feb 28, 2010 01:14 PM

                                                                                                    so does anti-semiticism but jfood does play the J card every time he is told no.

                                                                                                    You have to Google and go to some of the sites that reported and read some of the comments. it is frightening how many people think tipping is, at best, a non-participating activity. it was very eye-opening.

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                                                                                                    1. re: jfood
                                                                                                      j
                                                                                                      James Cristinian Feb 28, 2010 02:19 PM

                                                                                                      Hey jfood, what about the P card. I'm Polish and used to hear the same lame jokes about the Polack who... it's been a few years though. As I mentioned earlier, I quit eating with some people from work because they wouldn't tip, or left a meager one, so I ended up covering theirs.

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                                                                                                      1. re: James Cristinian
                                                                                                        jfood Feb 28, 2010 03:27 PM

                                                                                                        sorry JC, jfood does not have a dog in the P-Hunt, lots of other eastern EU DNA, just seemed to have missed Poland in the ancestors' travels.

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                                                                                                  2. re: jfood
                                                                                                    Azizeh Feb 28, 2010 12:57 PM

                                                                                                    I agree. I work at a restaurant that tries to maintain a nice, sophisticated atmosphere. If management is sent over to ask people to quiet down, take their screaming baby outside, or if they are asked not to return because they have been known to stiff their servers, it's a 75% chance that a letter will go to corporate saying it was racism, sexism, ageism, and whatever else. Of course, the company has had it's policies in place for years and the rules apply to everyone. Never fails.

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                                                                                                  3. re: thew
                                                                                                    alanbarnes Feb 28, 2010 12:46 PM

                                                                                                    You're right that the article leaves a lot of questions unanswered. But the answers to many of those questions are relatively easy to find. Check out http://www.piggynannan.com/

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                                                                                                    1. re: thew
                                                                                                      k
                                                                                                      KTinNYC Feb 28, 2010 01:01 PM

                                                                                                      Did they only notice she was black and mistreat her after multiple visits? She was a regular and like the place enough to bring friends repeatedly.

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                                                                                                      1. re: KTinNYC
                                                                                                        jfood Feb 28, 2010 01:25 PM

                                                                                                        Who wouldn't like a place that you got good food, good service and paid 15-20% less than everyne else in the place.

                                                                                                        They did NOT notice she was black, red, blue or purple, they noticed she was cheap and nasty.

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                                                                                                      2. re: thew
                                                                                                        Bluemold Feb 28, 2010 03:41 PM

                                                                                                        Thew is correct and the same holds true for both sides of this situation.

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                                                                                                        1. re: thew
                                                                                                          s
                                                                                                          StheJ Feb 28, 2010 05:26 PM

                                                                                                          I highly doubt it. A restaurant like this in Winston-Salem NC is not going to get anywhere or make any money if they're discriminating against African Americans. African Americans probably make up more than 50% of their customers. The problem is that this woman is just a cheapskate.

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                                                                                                      3. re: thew
                                                                                                        jfood Feb 28, 2010 12:38 PM

                                                                                                        That the whole thing is a giant sham for her to make a quick buck on the backs of an honest businessman and his hard working staff.

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                                                                                                        1. re: thew
                                                                                                          s
                                                                                                          StheJ Feb 28, 2010 05:23 PM

                                                                                                          I think she's retained council because she realized that she's basically defamed the restaurant by making up a story and telling lies about what happened with her television coorespondent friend on the tv. If I were her, I'd be worried about a suit from the restaurant as well... And if I were the restaurant, I'd be getting ready to sue her too.

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                                                                                                          1. re: StheJ
                                                                                                            b
                                                                                                            Buckethead Mar 2, 2010 07:43 AM

                                                                                                            That was my first thought: she isn't getting ready to sue, she's getting ready to *be* sued. This story may have impacted the restaurant financially.

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                                                                                                            1. re: StheJ
                                                                                                              alanbarnes Mar 2, 2010 09:02 AM

                                                                                                              Actually, she's retained a lawyer to sue the restaurant. Not for refusing to serve her, but for slander. Apparently calling somebody a bad tipper is actionable. But truth is an absolute defense. We'll see how this one pans out.

                                                                                                              http://209.157.64.201/focus/f-chat/24...

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                                                                                                              1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                                                invinotheresverde Mar 2, 2010 10:26 AM

                                                                                                                Hopefully they have some of her old credit card receipts.

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                                                                                                    2. alanbarnes Feb 28, 2010 12:00 PM

                                                                                                      More details - the petition was signed by members of Union Baptist Church at the urging of its pastor, the Reverend Dr. Sir Walter L. Mack, Jr. (Is "Sir" his first name?) But a number of the congregation's members have come forward and stated that they were told a very different story by Pastor Mack, and never would have signed the petition if they had known this was the issue.

                                                                                                      Oh, and we've got a cozy little bunch of relationships here. Reporter Jermont Terry is a member of Union Baptist. Ms. Covington is an employee of the church. And Pastor Mack IS HER BROTHER.

                                                                                                      Servers from other restaurants have chimed in about Ms. Covington. She is apparently well-known throughout the area because she's a very demanding customer and she never tips. Not a penny. Ever.

                                                                                                      This whole thing reeks.

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                                                                                                      1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                                        cowboyardee Feb 28, 2010 12:45 PM

                                                                                                        How'd you find all this out?

                                                                                                        Good researching, AlanB.

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                                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                          alanbarnes Feb 28, 2010 02:17 PM

                                                                                                          Google "Monica Covington." Several bloggers are running with this, and comments on the blogs have even more info if you care to wade through them.

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                                                                                                        2. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                                          Azizeh Feb 28, 2010 12:54 PM

                                                                                                          Wow, that's terrible. Where did you find this information?

                                                                                                          If the restaurant receives any negative backlash, they should sue the television station for airing such a misleading interview. Never once does the interviewer mention or ask how much Covington was tipping. The owner doesn't speak terrific english, but he called her a bad-tipper, not a non-tipper. I was a Journalism major in college, so maybe I'm biased, but I feel like the amount of the tips is a huge factor.

                                                                                                          If she were tipping 15% and the restaurant decided that wasn't enough, there would be outrage against the restaurant. Knowing that she's tipping 0% and the servers are working for nothing (or going into the red, depending on if they still have to tip out on the total amount of the check) changes the entire story.

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                                                                                                          1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                                            nofunlatte Feb 28, 2010 12:58 PM

                                                                                                            I wonder if there is another TV station in the W-S area (which I, as a hound, originally read as "Williams-Sonoma") which could do an expose or some more journalistically honest piece. Good scoop, you know!

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                                                                                                            1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                                              g
                                                                                                              gloriousfood Mar 1, 2010 05:42 AM

                                                                                                              Oh. My. Goodness.

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                                                                                                            2. jfood Feb 28, 2010 01:22 PM

                                                                                                              Gotta love the internet.

                                                                                                              Here's a petition with 917 signatures already, in support of the restaurant

                                                                                                              http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions...

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                                                                                                              1. haggisdragon Mar 1, 2010 06:11 AM

                                                                                                                Having read everyone's comments, first I must say I completely agree with jfood, invino, soupkitten and Sam Fujisaka, which is a personal record for me.

                                                                                                                I will say though that my first impression of the news story was not that it was biased but rather incomplete. Pretty typical piece for a local BS news affiliate. I was not surprised by any of the revelations that have come about during the course of this discussion.

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                                                                                                                1. s
                                                                                                                  StheJ Mar 2, 2010 09:19 AM

                                                                                                                  I read somewhere that she has a fake yelp profile that reviews the restaurant...

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                                                                                                                  1. re: StheJ
                                                                                                                    invinotheresverde Mar 2, 2010 10:30 AM

                                                                                                                    Monica C.

                                                                                                                    Winston-Salem, NC
                                                                                                                    Compliment

                                                                                                                    Send Message

                                                                                                                    Follow This Reviewer
                                                                                                                    .2/26/2010
                                                                                                                    First to Review
                                                                                                                    .I love Kanpai, I've been going since 2008!!!

                                                                                                                    I go there all the time, so much i fact people know my face, know my name. They give me excellent service, the servers and the chefs are just amazing. At the end of the show, I don't TIP of course, but either way I keep wanting to come back. Come on it's my favorite restaurant!!

                                                                                                                    One more thing, My brother is the reverend/pastor of my church, and he helped me get those 300 signatures to boycott.
                                                                                                                    The news reporter jermont terry is actually my friend, and goes to the same church. Oh I forgot, I also work at the same church too.

                                                                                                                    I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE KANPAI. Come one just look at me. who wouldn't love Kanpai so much that I even went on camera to tell the world I love Kanpai. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

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                                                                                                                    1. re: StheJ
                                                                                                                      thew Mar 3, 2010 03:47 AM

                                                                                                                      what is it with you and yelp?

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                                                                                                                    2. d
                                                                                                                      drsnacks Mar 3, 2010 09:28 AM

                                                                                                                      It's interesting that tipping customs are learned exclusively through word of mouth, leading to predictable inequities in knowledge of them (along the same predictable lines that every other social inequity falls), yet despite the onus of their dissemination being logically in the hands of those who make their living off them, the ire over tipping ignorance from professionals and laymen alike is directed entirely towards our familiar societal scapegoats.

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                                                                                                                      1. re: drsnacks
                                                                                                                        alanbarnes Mar 3, 2010 09:42 AM

                                                                                                                        Which "familiar societal scapegoats" did you have in mind? Europeans? Women? People over 65? Widely-held stereotypes in the food industry are that each of those groups tends to tip poorly.

                                                                                                                        There are no "inequities in knowledge" here. Monica Covington isn't ignorant about tipping customs. She was told what they were and asked to comply with them. She refused (which she had every right to do), and the restaurant declined to serve her (which it had every right to do).

                                                                                                                        The fact that she has such an overdeveloped sense of entitlement that she went on the local TV news to complain about this tells us a lot. Not about her tipping habits, but about her lack of character. Nobody's being scapegoated here except deadbeats and whiners. And they deserve it.

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                                                                                                                        1. re: alanbarnes
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                                                                                                                          drsnacks Mar 3, 2010 09:48 AM

                                                                                                                          Seems I was too vague & imprecise. I of course was not talking about women and people over 65 because the elderly and women aren't often the butt of front-page caliber social discrimination. Point taken. Same with Europeans being a familiar group within society.

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                                                                                                                          1. re: drsnacks
                                                                                                                            invinotheresverde Mar 3, 2010 10:12 AM

                                                                                                                            Please tell me you're not trying to say she was discriminated against for being black (in a roundabout way). They're in North Carolina; I bet at least a third of their clientele is black.

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                                                                                                                            1. re: invinotheresverde
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                                                                                                                              drsnacks Mar 3, 2010 10:16 AM

                                                                                                                              This is the only response I can make to a comment so silly.

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                                                                                                                              1. re: drsnacks
                                                                                                                                invinotheresverde Mar 3, 2010 10:20 AM

                                                                                                                                What else could, "...the butt of front-page caliber social discrimination" lead a reader to believe?

                                                                                                                                EDIT: It seems to me as though alan understood your post the exact same way I did.

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                                                                                                                                1. re: invinotheresverde
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                                                                                                                                  drsnacks Mar 3, 2010 10:23 AM

                                                                                                                                  I'm talking about your implication that discrimination against blacks can't possibly fly in a place like North Carolina

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                                                                                                                                  1. re: drsnacks
                                                                                                                                    invinotheresverde Mar 3, 2010 10:25 AM

                                                                                                                                    Oh, it could definitely fly. However, no one else, black, white or purple, has come out saying they've been banned from this restaurant. The only person who has been banned is a person whohabitually leaves no tip. That is the sole reason why she's no longer welcome.

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                                                                                                                            2. re: drsnacks
                                                                                                                              alanbarnes Mar 3, 2010 10:18 AM

                                                                                                                              I know what you were talking about. And I have no doubt that Ms. Covington was the victim of discrimination by the restaurant. Problem is, it's intellectually dishonest to just assume that the discrimination was based on race. Ms. Covington wasn't discriminated against because she is African-American. She was discriminated against because she is known to restaurant staff as a complete pain in the ass who never tips.

                                                                                                                              Seriously, the color of her skin was evident the first time she visited. But it was only after repeated visits - and repeated misconduct - that the restaurant 86ed her. How to explain that?

                                                                                                                              There's a legal doctrine called the "same actor inference." It holds that when an individual initially treats a known member of a protected class favorably, subsequent unfavorable treatment is not attributable to prejudice based on class membership.

                                                                                                                              In this case, the restaurant treated Ms. Covington favorably and she became a regular customer. Presumably she was African-American at that time. At some point, though, the restaurant decided that it would no longer serve her. It doesn't make sense that this decision was based on race, which was evident from the beginning. Rather, the only plausible explanation is that the decision was based on Ms. Covington's conduct during the time she was a patron there.

                                                                                                                              Discrimination against people based on the color of their skin is abhorrent. But I'd like to see more discrimination against people - black, white, brown, yellow, green, or purple - when they act like jerks. Hopefully it would deter that kind of behavior and ultimately make the world a better place.

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                                                                                                                              1. re: alanbarnes
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                                                                                                                                drsnacks Mar 3, 2010 10:24 AM

                                                                                                                                How much would the internet care about this story if it weren't the case that "blacks are poor tippers"?

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                                                                                                                                1. re: drsnacks
                                                                                                                                  alanbarnes Mar 3, 2010 10:34 AM

                                                                                                                                  Oh, I don't know. Probably about as much as the internet cared about the story of the white people who made the news because they were poor tippers at a Pennsylvania restaurant. http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/l...

                                                                                                                                  I'm not saying that racial discrimination doesn't exist. It does. But just because Ms. Covington is black doesn't mean she's not an asshole. And like I said above, I support discrimination against assholes regardless of color.

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                                                                                                                                  1. re: alanbarnes
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                                                                                                                                    drsnacks Mar 3, 2010 10:36 AM

                                                                                                                                    2109 comments. You got me.

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                                                                                                                              2. re: drsnacks
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                                                                                                                                soupkitten Mar 3, 2010 10:23 AM

                                                                                                                                what exactly are you trying to say then? seems to me that your vague imprecision does more disservice to whatever the heck you believe you're talking about than anything else.

                                                                                                                                i don't think that churchgoers are necessarily any worse tippers than anyone else. i *do* think it's interesting, however that ms. covington waffled in the interview about her dining companions and seemed to want to leave the impression that they were *her* employees. presumably they are all church employees, right? or is ms. covington some sort of supervisor? is her brother the preacher everyone's (including ms. covington's) boss, or does she just think she's in charge because of her familial relationship?

                                                                                                                                in any case the restaurant seems to have kept track of her tipping record with the servers, her non-tipping ways were brought to management's attention, and as a result of her own actions she was moved to restaurant's non grata list. same could be said for other folks who behave inappropriately or disruptively in restaurants. actions such as starting fights, walking out on tabs, grabbing and groping the female servers. . . you do this stuff and you're not going to be welcome, simple as pie. just because the cops don't get called (yeah, with one or two exceptions) when a customer stiffs her/his server does not make this type of behavior in any way acceptable.

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                                                                                                                                1. re: soupkitten
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                                                                                                                                  soupkitten Mar 3, 2010 10:41 AM

                                                                                                                                  um. . . wow. well i think that DrSnacks is probably barking up the wrong tree here and doing a major disservice to a lot of folks. at any rate i had no idea what s/he is talking about at the time i posted, or now, but i stand by the post above.

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                                                                                                                            3. re: drsnacks
                                                                                                                              carolinadawg Mar 3, 2010 10:01 AM

                                                                                                                              Tipping customs are most certainly not "learned exclusively through word of mouth". There's many, many ways to acquire knowledge of tipping...watching parents and friends, reading nwespaper and magazine articles, looking it up online, travel guides, websites, etc., etc. I can't imagine anyone severely undertipping due to lack of knowledge. Cheapness, meaness, a sense of entitlement, or simply not caring, yes, but not due to lack of knowledge.

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                                                                                                                              1. re: carolinadawg
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                                                                                                                                drsnacks Mar 3, 2010 10:10 AM

                                                                                                                                What on Earth is watching parents and friends if not "word of mouth", why would someone look up tipping without prior knowledge, and which of the demographically flat-audienced periodicals out there regularly update readers on tipping practices?

                                                                                                                                I can't imagine ire towards undertippers from laymen of this level without classic social discrimination driving it.

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                                                                                                                                1. re: drsnacks
                                                                                                                                  haggisdragon Mar 3, 2010 10:29 AM

                                                                                                                                  Bulls**t. Bad tippers come from all socioeconomic classes, cultures, genders etc. You are trying to say that if Monica Covington wasn't part of a group of 'familiar social scapegoats' then we wouldn't be so critical of her actions. That is just wrong.

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                                                                                                                                  1. re: drsnacks
                                                                                                                                    maplesugar Mar 3, 2010 10:34 AM

                                                                                                                                    Tipping/not tipping/customs are debated ad nauseum here.

                                                                                                                                    "What on Earth is watching parents and friends if not "word of mouth"..., "Well, most would call that learned behaviour.

                                                                                                                                    Insinuating that hounds are somehow upper class snobs because they don't appreciate undertippers is ridiculous. If you're here long enough you'll see hounds come from all levels of the social strata with a common interest - finding good food.

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                                                                                                                                    1. re: drsnacks
                                                                                                                                      carolinadawg Mar 3, 2010 10:38 AM

                                                                                                                                      Here's an article, barely a month old, from the Charlotte Observer. The last paragraph mentions that an appropriate tip for good service is 20%. The knowledge is out there. Ms. Covington simply chose to ignore it.

                                                                                                                                      http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010...

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                                                                                                                                    2. re: carolinadawg
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                                                                                                                                      drsnacks Mar 3, 2010 10:21 AM

                                                                                                                                      A single word from the restaurant industry (which has organized national representation) that tipping is expected to the extent that those in the know know it is would solve so much of their own problems.

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                                                                                                                                        StheJ Mar 3, 2010 10:30 AM

                                                                                                                                        drsnacks: I simply have no idea what you're trying to say. Can you please give a concise and understandable statement of your position?

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                                                                                                                                        1. re: StheJ
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                                                                                                                                          drsnacks Mar 3, 2010 10:39 AM

                                                                                                                                          The National Restaurant Association should officially state and publicize that 15-20% tips are ultimately optional but highly expected on behalf of their underpaid waitstaff, and it doesn't make sense for laymen to crusade against undertippers as long as they don't.

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                                                                                                                                          1. re: drsnacks
                                                                                                                                            maplesugar Mar 3, 2010 10:44 AM

                                                                                                                                            The National Restaurant Association should educate the public on matters of etiquette?

                                                                                                                                            I can see it now - national print and radio ads suggesting Paul and Polly server are working hard to serve you but earning peanuts so leave a 15+%tip?

                                                                                                                                            I'm sure that'll do wonders for the industry's reputation.

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                                                                                                                                            1. re: maplesugar
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                                                                                                                                              drsnacks Mar 3, 2010 10:49 AM

                                                                                                                                              I guess that explains why they won't do that. It doesn't explain why anyone outside of restaurant management would apologize for their lack of responsibility (ignoring your attempt to brand tipping "etiquette").

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                                                                                                                                            2. re: drsnacks
                                                                                                                                              invinotheresverde Mar 3, 2010 10:50 AM

                                                                                                                                              Are you trying to say Ms. Covington didn't KNOW she should leave a tip?

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                                                                                                                                              1. re: invinotheresverde
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                                                                                                                                                StheJ Mar 3, 2010 12:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                1. I don't think anyone on this board is reacting to her being African American, although maybe they are. I don't know. Personally, I don't care if she's black or white or brown or green or whatever. She's a serial bad tipper that's all that matters to me.

                                                                                                                                                2. "The National Restaurant Association should officially state and publicize that 15-20% tips are ultimately optional but highly expected on behalf of their underpaid waitstaff, and it doesn't make sense for laymen to crusade against undertippers as long as they don't."

                                                                                                                                                a. I don't get what a layman is in this instance? It seems to me that anyone who has ever been to a restaurant would be a non-layman; so are we talking about folks who've never been to a restaurant or what?

                                                                                                                                                b. This is a silly idea. As someone astutely pointed out above, tipping norms vary place to place and restaurant to restaurant. Should they put out a chart or slide rule where you match up various characteristics of the establishment with the price of your entree and then it gives you a percentage?

                                                                                                                                                3. "A single word from the restaurant industry (which has organized national representation) that tipping is expected to the extent that those in the know know it is would solve so much of their own problems."

                                                                                                                                                I couldn't disagree more. Let's stop pretending that Ms. Covington didn't know how much she was supposed to tip. She undertipped over and over consciously, not out of ignorance. Serial undertippers are going to undertip no matter who tells them what the societal norm is for whatever their reasons.

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                                                                                                                                                1. re: StheJ
                                                                                                                                                  invinotheresverde Mar 3, 2010 12:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Did you mean to respond to me?

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                                                                                                                                                  1. re: invinotheresverde
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                                                                                                                                                    StheJ Mar 3, 2010 12:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                    No. I meant to respond to drsnacks.

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                                                                                                                                                  2. re: StheJ
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                                                                                                                                                    drsnacks Mar 3, 2010 12:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                    I wasn't ever talking about her, just the discussion that stemmed from the story. A layman would be someone who doesn't work for a restaurant, and I didn't realize that tipping norms vary region and even by restaurant. It be great if there were a reliable way for customers to learn that.

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                                                                                                                                                    1. re: drsnacks
                                                                                                                                                      carolinadawg Mar 3, 2010 12:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Once again, the idea that Ms. Covington did not understand the concept of proper tipping is simply absurb.

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                                                                                                                                        dump123456789 Mar 3, 2010 10:57 AM

                                                                                                                                        I'm not sure if I agree with Dr Snacks, but it is interesting to note that, at other websites where I've read about this story, the number of racist and stereotyping posts is unbelievably high. It seems to have "liberated" some people to spew their bigoted venom.

                                                                                                                                        In that sense, while I don't think the restaurant was behaving in a racist way, the incident has opened a floodgate of explicit and implicit racist sentiment. Just as the amount of coverage of/reaction to child abductions varies by the race of the child, the amount of coverage of/reaction to this story might very well have been lower if Monica C were of a different race.

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                                                                                                                                        1. re: dump123456789
                                                                                                                                          carolinadawg Mar 3, 2010 11:02 AM

                                                                                                                                          Its "interesting" (not really, but I'll use your word) to note how virtually any story on a website results in the spewing of bigoted venom. However, that has nothing to do with the treatment of Ms. Covington by the restaurant.

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                                                                                                                                          1. re: carolinadawg
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                                                                                                                                            DGresh Mar 3, 2010 11:07 AM

                                                                                                                                            SO TRUE!

                                                                                                                                            Never underestimate the idiocy and small-mindedness of those who can post anonymously

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                                                                                                                                            1. re: DGresh
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                                                                                                                                              Buckethead Mar 3, 2010 11:17 AM

                                                                                                                                              There's a handy illustration that captures this phenomenon perfectly:

                                                                                                                                              http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/200...

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                                                                                                                                              1. re: Buckethead
                                                                                                                                                Bluemold Mar 3, 2010 01:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                Using just a little common sense (the less common of the senses I admit) let me ask a few questions .

                                                                                                                                                With restaurant sales down and trending down looking forward, does it make sense that a paying customer would be turned away and permanently ruining your business?

                                                                                                                                                Further, does it make business sense to potentially alienate 37% (Winston-Salem's estimated African American population) of your clientele and expect to stay in business?

                                                                                                                                                I don't know but something about this whole episode does not ring true to me. For the record, and for what it's worth, I live in W-S and have never eaten or been inside the establishment and don't know any of the parties in the dispute.

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                                                                                                                                        2. The Chowhound Team Mar 3, 2010 01:27 PM

                                                                                                                                          As often happens in tipping discussion threads, it seems like everything there is to be said on this subject has already been said, and now the conversation is just going in circles, and growing increasingly unfriendly. We're going to lock it now.

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