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May 2, 2011 03:49 PM

Deceptive / Stealing by the Server?


First Post

I went for a take-out sandwich today and the cost was $5.50 plus tax, about $5.80. Gave the server a $20. He returns with a ten and five singles spread like a poker hand so I could clearly see it was $15. I left $1 of the five singles. Seemed deceptive but not my problem. Seemed like the server was stealing a $1 from the owner. The place is a bar-diner type with tables. I ordered at the cashier and a server brought the paper bag with the sandwich inside, plus some free chips.

  1. I would have assumed that he made a mistake counting. Why would a cashier risk having their drawer short, in hopes of making an extra 20 cents if you left a dollar behind?

    1. sorry, if he doesn't even attempt to make correct change...or even offer a lame excuse like they're out of nickels and dimes, then he's made one more assumption than I'm willing to overlook.

      His 20 cents would have been his tip.

      3 Replies
      1. re: sunshine842

        I'm not sure what you're getting at. The OP was due $14.20 in change and received $15. What assumption has the server made?

        1. re: small h

          sorry, I was posting without my required daily allotment of caffeine, and went the wrong direction on the change.

          Maybe THAT's what happened! The waiter was still half asleep....

          1. re: small h

            yah. someone's math is off - i was afraid it was mine for a second

        2. its 80 cents......I think you are over analyzing.

          3 Replies
          1. re: joe777cool

            That 80 comes out of the profit for that store. Repeat it a hundred times a day every day and you've got problems.

            Something's up, probably the server being lazy and not wanting to count change.

            1. re: chileheadmike

              How do you know it comes out of the till and not out of the servers kitty/bank? A lazy server not wanting to make change is a more logical explanation than someone skimming $80 dollars a day in change. All restaurants do periodical cash-outs, someone doesnt get away with skimming very long.

              1. re: joe777cool

                I've read here of places where servers are required to make their own change and don't bother with coin at all so they don't have to carry it on them. It seems unlikely a server would short-change themselves that large a % on every check, but this could be the explanation.

          2. You don't know how the server is squaring up with the owner at the end of the day.

            I'd like to think s/he is being shrewd in hoping that you would hand $2 as a tip ($1.20 profit to the server, rather than 20ยข) because a lot of people would.

            1. First, welcome to chowhoud, its a great place to talk about all aspects of eating! (can be addiciting, especially during work, ha)

              I've notice that a lot of "take out" mom and pop type places, often will not give me exact change or have some wiggle room with pricing. It could of been chashier mistake, or common practice at that place. I don't think the cashier really would care about taking $1 off the owner...

              Maybe I am wrong but I never tip when picking up take out food.

              18 Replies
              1. re: Augie6

                Quizno's and Subway, I give exact.
                Chinese and Thai that we do a couple times a month, or any place where there is sit down and take out? Definitely. I don' think enough people do this. Many times the same people who are waiting tables and getting tipped are also busy helping you with your take out. And they get nothing? Not fair, really.
                I don't tip normal, maybe 30-50%.

                1. re: Augie6

                  Thank you for the welcome Augie. So far so good.

                  I do not tip on take-out either but by bill was close to $6 and I felt bad taking the $15 and only paying $5. If the internal delivery person was pulling a scam, that is up to him and the owner, if the delivery person was hoping for $2, then I am smarter then that scam, and if he was careless, I gave the money to make up for his carelessness. In all events I paid as I would have and he and the owner can figure out the rest.

                  1. re: nobadfoodplz

                    Well, actually, you didn't pay as you would have--you made out because you were given 80 cents extra. The waiter would have made the $1 tip regardless so he didn't get more; that is, unless you were only planning on tipping 20 cents(if the waiter had given you $14.20, you would have given him $1, I assume, not 20 cents). You were incorrectly given too much back and you kept the difference. You paid a total of $6.

                    1. re: chowser


                      I do not tip on take out unless it is a restaurant where the person doing the work and is taking from his other duties. If the person would have handed me $14 , I would have just left, if $14.20 probably no tip as well. So yes I did pay whatt I would have paid.

                      1. re: nobadfoodplz

                        At this point, then, you don't know if the server put the $1 you gave him back in the till which is likely. I can't imagine someone risking a job for 80 cents.

                  2. re: Augie6

                    >>>>Maybe I am wrong but I never tip when picking up take out food.

                    I *always* tip if I'm picking up food to go in a regular, waiter service, sit down restaurant. Taking the waiter away from his tables is tipworthy.

                    I don't do this at less formal places, or at carryouts.

                    1. re: Jay F

                      I do, too, which is why I assumed the $1 was the tip.

                    2. re: Augie6

                      People who prepare your take out deserve a tip! I used to work at a restaurant where the hostess were the ones who answered the phone,ordered, packed, and cashed out all of the take away orders, they do all the work of a server for those orders,plus seating, answering the phone, and cashing out everyone else in the restaurant. My take away customers always tipped me even if it was only $2-3.

                      1. re: BelovedofIsis


                        You were very lucky that the restaurant's customers "always." tipped you. But I very much disagree with the comment that all people that prepare take-out "deserve" a tip. The functions (other than the seating) nicely descibe those activities of the cashier at Starbucks and there is no way I am tipping the person taking my order at Starbucks.

                        1. re: nobadfoodplz

                          I guess I'm just a generous person then because I do tip the barista's at the coffee joints either my loose change from the purchase or a $1. Maybe I'm weird like that.

                          1. re: BelovedofIsis

                            Beloved (I like the handle)

                            I am also a genrous person and donate my money to causes I think are important. A $1 at the barist every day converts into a couple of hundred dollars a year that I would rather donate to cancer research, buying and donating food to the homeless shelters and stuff like that. Everyone has priorities on their cash. Neither is correct or better, just different choices.

                            1. re: nobadfoodplz

                              Well I don't frequent the coffee shops more than once a week, so the perspective of going every day, I can see your point. However I use the same philosophy when I give to charities as well whether they are on the street with flyers, connected to checkout lanes, or my online checkouts I always give that extra dollar or two. Maybe its just my outlook and current financial status but a buck or two here or there whether for a tip or a charity doesn't hurt me much, even if in the long run it adds up to a couple hundred dollars at year end. Plus we do regularly give to a couple of charities every pay period that is automatically debited. I don't know, I've been that hard working person on the other side and receiving a tip made my day and I felt appreciated and accepted by my customers when the back of house work environment was negative. Experience and perspective, but its fun to banter about it no? ;) Thanks on the name btw, ancient Egypt holds a special place in my imagination.

                              1. re: BelovedofIsis

                                I visit a coffee shop maybe once a week, and I usually use my debit card but when I have cash I always round up or throw them a buck. People depend on those tips as part of their income and work hard for it! If you can afford the coffee you can afford the 25 cent tip to go along with it.

                              2. re: nobadfoodplz

                                "A $1 at the barist every day converts into a couple of hundred dollars a year that I would rather donate to cancer research, buying and donating food to the homeless shelters and stuff like that."

                                So why dont you make your own coffee at home and quadruple your annual donation? The takeout person is providing you a service, a dollar or two isnt going to drain you in the long run.

                                1. re: joe777cool

                                  Mr Joe

                                  Actually my wife makes a great cup of coffee for me every morning at home. When I buy a medium or large cup of coffee at Starbucks I pay the price that is posted. I do not think by any stretch of the imagination that the coffee pourer, you want to call him/her a barista go ahead, deserves a tip. I am not singling out the kids at Starbucks, but here are examples of other people who provide service that do not deserve a tip, the guy filling my tank of gas, the cashier at the supermarket, the butcher at the supermarket, the produce guy who helps me pick a good melon, the delivery person for room service if a service charge and a gatuity is included on the bill, the person behind the cheese counter who helps me choose my cheese, the guy at the liquor store who helps me pair my wines, the ticket seller at the theater, the seater at the ballpark. Servers deserve tips, these others do not.

                                  And you are correct, I am extremely fortunate that the dollar or two is not going to drain me. As far as your math on $200 qadrupling my annual donations, not even close.

                                  1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                    alot of the people you mention I tip or make alot more than minimum wage. As far as my math goes a coffee at starbucks goes for about $3-4 to make the math easy. You are presuming a $1 daily tip. Skipping that daily coffee triples to quadruples your donation.

                                    And no, I am not a 3rd grade math teacher. ; )

                                    1. re: joe777cool

                                      Mr Joe

                                      I think your definition of "triples to quadruples your donation" differs from mine.

                                      The $1 a day equal $365 per year. If I were to increase my charitable donations by $365 and that addition were to triple my donations, then the equation is (x+365) = 3x where x = my current donation. If I were to currently contribute <=$182.50 then you would be right, but I contribute many multiples of that amount.

                                      In another vein, if your definition is that the $1 to the coffee pourer is a donation (I disagree) then the math is a 33% "donation" on a $3 cup of coffee and a 25% "donation" on a $4 cup of coffee. Neither is close to triple which would equal about an extra $10 on either cup. I think that is not happening by anyone.

                                      I hope that helps

                                    2. re: nobadfoodplz

                                      The guy filling your tank deserves a tip, but doesnt have time or a nice, clean, warm (or cool) surface to put his tip jar on.
                                      The whole tipping issue is getting out of hand. I realize that people deserve a fair wage for fair service; enjoy the one you have chosen or get another job. If you want to pour coffee for your life, that is your choice.