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I Forgot My Wallet, Have You Forgotten Yours?

So, an Italian tourist ate a meal at Smith & Wollensky's in New York and discovered, when he was presented with the bill, that he had left his wallet at his hotel room. He spoke with the manager and explained the situation and offered to leave his iphone with the manager while he went to retrieve his wallet. The tourist also suggested that he'd take a restaurant employee with him as additional security that he would return. Smith & Wollensky's manager did not agree and instead had the tourist arrested. At the hearing the next day, the judge dropped the charges with the understanding that the tourist would return to court the following week with the moneys due the restaurant.

I have been in this tourist's shoes. One evening, after enjoying my first meal at a recently-opened Longhorn Steakhouse, I reached into my purse only to find that my wallet was not there. I was mortified. I had changed over purses the previous night and had forgotten to put my wallet into this purse. I called over the manager and explained my situation. I had my checkbook and offered to write a check. He said that company policy did not allow him to accept a check. I offered to give him my watch and checkbook as collateral and that I'd return the next day to settle my bill. The manager declined to take the checkbook and watch; instead, he said not to worry about it and to just bring in the money the next day. Well, I was there before the restaurant opened and was happy to see the manager from the previous night. I went up to him and settled my bill (along with a healthy tip) and thanked him profusely for trusting me. As I turned around to leave, the manager touched my shoulder and stopped me. When I turned back around, the manager showed me to a table and told me that, because of my honesty, lunch would be on him. You better believe I told everyone I came into contact with who was wondering where to eat about how wonderful and understand Longhorn Steakhouse is. And, yes, I became a regular.

So, have you ever forgotten your wallet and, if you have, what happened?

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  1. The dude and I were shoveling snow, I think, and agreed when it was over that we should go out and get a bite -- and warm up. Jumped in the car and neither one thought to take cell phone, wallet etc.; we were that hungry.

    4-star relatively expensive restaurant and it's 5:00. We hunker down to cocktails with our favorite bartender and await a great steak and seafood repast.

    We're there until 9 p.m. Everyone's bonding 'cause of the inclement weather etc. but it's time to go home.

    We discover that we have neither money nor identification. Our server understands but his manager (probably the only one at this restaurant who doesn't know us on a first-name basis) is ticked off and considers this a big problem (yes, it's his job so I understand.)

    I offer to drive home and get $ etc. and leave the dude as collateral. Mgr. actually said "no dice you gotta have someone come here with $" -- not having cell phone I don't know numbers of friends nearby who can help.

    Another diner; a business-owner we've spoken to infrequently but we see him all the time when we eat at this restaurant, offers to help. He's a little ticked that the mgr. doesn't know we're regulars, so he gives me $300 and his biz card and says "catch up with me when you can."

    Of course I was at his office the next morning at 10 am with the $300; and a very nice bottle of wine for his having gone thru the trouble. He tells me that after we left, two of our friends at the bar thought to get out their smart-phones and showed the manager who I am (I've appeared on television and in newspapers 'cause of my job). Apparently the manager was aghast and now worried that the owner will find out he strong-armed me etc. etc.

    We go back and, as usual, have a great meal and a fun time. The manager makes a big deal about apologizing. I asked him "what happened to the old days when you could just go to your car and get a business card in case you forgot your $ and come back the next day -- or write a check?"

    Now, I thought I'd seen it all (but then, my places have never been 'fine-dining' like this one). The manager's stories about the lengths to which dine-and-dashers go to commit fraud nearly curled my hair, so I certainly understood why he had to be a bit firm with us.

    We didn't get the meal comped that day, but he did buy us coffee, dessert and drinks -- and a bottle of bubbly which we were asked to share with the guy who ponied up the $.

    11 Replies
    1. re: shaogo

      So who are you, or what are you, that gets you in the newspapers and on tv?

      1. re: carolinadawg

        I'm a restaurateur. I've done food segments for tv, radio and in print.

      2. re: shaogo

        just curious....what's your policy as restaurant owner when a patron forgets his wallet?

        1. re: Vidute

          My policy about patrons with no cash has changed according to the location/demographic.

          First restaurant: in a shoreline/summer cottage area so we had to be very careful about the 1% of people who take advantage of the busy Summertime confusion and either dine-and-dash or have a problem. Called the police for theft of services only once 'cause customer was *extremely* difficult. Else 4-5 times in 5 years customers would promise to pay -- and did the following day/week. (One woman felt so bad she brought us a basket of home-baked sticky buns; even after that she actually asked if I would allow her and her SO back in the restaurant [of course])

          There were several dine-n-dashes over the years at our upscale place. Very crafty people who'd obviously gotten it down to a science. We don't call the police 'cause with a Liquor Permit, each and every police call goes with a report to the Liquor Board, even if it's not our fault at all, So maybe we lost $1,000-$2,000 during the entire 12-year lifetime of the restaurant.

          Our current place is in a city. Some of our customers are in genuine hard times; we'll give lots of stuff away if only for our perceived karmic benefit. There was one slick guy who played me (and staff) like a fiddle after his C-card had been declined. Then he had the gall to come back, order (incurring a steeper bill), and try to pay with a personal check. His karma got him; I had his name, and every roughneck in that neighborhood knows everyone else so some of my peeps heard the story and said "oh, he's got a coke problem. He works at ___." Well, we went there on a Friday and accompanied him to the bank with his payroll check, to cash it.

          On the other side of the coin, I have about a dozen customers who have house charges, and they'll come and go (tipping in cash on each visit) and we don't even ask them to sign the check. When they're ready they pay the whole bill and usually buy a drink for the mopes at the bar 'cause they're grateful we offer the flexibility.

          If someone, in this new place, were to actually "dine-and-dash," a) they'd be captured on our video surveillance system doing so in brilliant color/HD, but worse, b) the "boys" from the neighborhood who hang out at the bar all the time would probably jump at the opportunity to chase 'em down (a little excitement) and upon catching them, well, I'd rather not say what would happen...

          I try to be a gentleman about it if someone's got a problem.

          1. re: shaogo

            i have no compassion for "dine-and-dashers", they're thieves. i'm just glad that there are understanding people that some of us have honestly forgotten our wallets and that we want to clear up our embarrassment and our name as quickly as possible.

            1. re: shaogo

              Laughs~ We too had a built in restaurant guard at our place.

              I love that you tracked him down and went to the bank with him. Every once in a while we would have a problem getting someone to pay, but they wanted to come back and new I meant it when I barred them. Older and tougher me might have accompanied them to the bank!

              Once we had four very large men come in and when the designated payer's card got declined and it said on the verify machine "Hold Card". So I called and they said it was stolen and wanted to talk to him. OK. Gulp. I am not a large person mind you. So he came to the phone, talked, hung up and got very mad at me when I did not give him the card back. I had to call the police. I had forgotten about that incident. So maybe a few people some free dinners on us after all! Ah well, that is the cost of doing biz. Not quite as fun as your stories. restauranteurs have good stories. You see all kinds if you have a bar and restaurant. It both toughens you and softens your heart.

              1. re: Sal Vanilla

                I've had to do that about five times (confiscate a card because of fraud/stolen) and I agree it's good for a nice lump in the throat -- and stomach! These days the card company security dept. representatives are so well trained they keep the merchant and the customer on the phone, and will call back if the customer hangs up the phone, while meanwhile someone in their own call center is calling the local police...

                1. re: shaogo

                  I wonder if that is what happened in our case. I had to ask my husband his recollection. He knew the police came, but he was cooking that night so... we rely on my memory. Yuck. I bet the card co. called. It would take something for me to call the cops.

          2. re: shaogo

            <The dude and I were shoveling snow>

            :). You jumped in the car, after shoveling snow, without all your necessities and proceeded to dine at a "4 star relatively expensive restaurant"? You didn't change your wet, most likely dirty, clothes?
            Sorry, love your story, but it's the only thing I don't get.

            1. re: latindancer

              Oh, no. It was the quick-change from soaked stuff to something at least dry that fouled us up. We weren't gonna go there soaking wet; but it's not a "jacket-and-tie" kinda place. Wallet was not thought of, nor was cell phone. Keys were still in the car we'd just cleared-off. Left it running in the driveway necessitating a quick-change of jeans, shirt and socks and off we went, without thinking.

          3. Actually, if you have a chance to read the update - Smith and Wollensky responded and stated that the customer did in fact have his wallet - he just didn't want to pay - and he went to graduate school in the US, so definitely spoke fluent English -

            On the other hand - this just happened to me last week - I was traveling - and after dinner looked in my purse and realized that I didn't have my wallet - thought I might have been pick pocketed - usually I'm thoughtful about that, but had my purse on the back of my stool unzipped! Fortunately, I had cash in a separate little bag in my purse - then found my wallet under a pile of clothes in the hotel room! But I certainly did wonder what I would do in a strange city where no one knows me!

            2 Replies
              1. re: harryharry

                Then the updated facts in the Smith and Eollensky instance does change things.

              2. There's an update to the original story, where the tourist is not exactly portrayed as a victim. Even if he had forgotten his wallet, why not simply leave the friend there to order a drink or desert and go get the wallet? That's certainly what I would have done in this scenario.

                When travelling alone, I always keep a "spare" credit card in a separate purse compartment just in case.

                1 Reply
                1. re: LeoLioness

                  My husband carried a body wallet when traveling overseas. I used to think it was silly paranoia, but now think it might be a bit of brilliance!

                2. So it's seems to me including the OP all responses to this post beside shaogo seems to be women. So based on the limited responses so far 3 out of 4 or 75% of people who forget their wallets are female!

                  27 Replies
                  1. re: jrvedivici

                    Female and have never forgotten my wallet at a restaurant tho my spouse (male) has, many times.

                    Just to keep things in balance here.

                    1. re: tcamp

                      I'm just crunching the numbers! Don't shoot the bean counter!!! Lol

                      1. re: tcamp

                        No harm done. As I was reading your post, I thought, "well, most responders will be ones who HAVE forgotten their wallet and have a tale to tell." So I chimed in.

                        And I *always* blame the bean counters!

                        1. re: jrvedivici

                          I hate to jinx myself, but I've never forgotten my wallet. My extra credit card is more a safety guard against theft.

                          My (male) partner, on the other hand...

                          1. re: jrvedivici

                            There's a reason I prefer to have a (small) bag with the wallet-part permanently attached. It makes it much more difficult to misplace anything! But women who have lots of different handbags could easily lose track... especially if there are family distractions while they're in the middle of changing purses.

                            I've never actually forgotten my wallet, but DH and I sat down in a small restaurant once and never noticed that they didn't take credit cards until we were ready to pay! Fortunately there was an ATM outside, otherwise we would have been in trouble because our checkbooks and debit cards were useless.

                            1. re: Kajikit

                              I have had that happen. In this day and age I don't understand restaurants that do not take credit cards.

                              1. re: Bigjim68

                                If you take into consideration cc fee's combined with the "tax advantages" it's kind of easy to understand it.

                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                  No more "tax advantages" to cash. First of all understating taxable income is just wrong and to do so is not to pay our fair portion. Second, the IRS gets more sophisticated every year. They know how much a business is making (it's easier when you sell booze 'cause the vendors must give them a record of purchases if they ask) so they know at least the cost of goods sold and approximately how much profit one can make on that.

                                  And credit card processing vendors are so competitive what once was a 5% "discount rate" (processing charge or "vigorish") for American Express is now at a very competitive 1.8% for us -- less for higher-volume restaurants...

                                  There really is no reason at all not to accept credit cards in a restaurant these days. (Unless you've defrauded credit card companies in the past, as a business-person.)

                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                    Most studies show that people tend to order more -- and more expensive -- food when paying with a credit card. So while accepting credit cards means a 2-4% loss in fees, it is usually more than made up for by increased spending.

                                    Obviously this doesn't work with buffets or prix fixe restaurants.

                              2. re: jrvedivici

                                Either that, or they are just more willing to admit their error...!

                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                  I can see that. I don't think that women are inherently more forgetful, but more of them carry their wallets in their purse than in their pocket, and they may change purses and even wallets frequently. There's simply more opportunity for error.

                                  1. re: JonParker

                                    Women don't change their purses any more often than men change their pants. I hope.

                                    1. re: Cachetes

                                      there's the "work" purse, the "weekend" purse, the "date" purse, the "event" purse, the "change of season" purse, the "rainy day" purse, the "vacation" purse, etc. and please be advised that there can be multiple purses under each category.

                                        1. re: Vidute

                                          BTW I'm a woman and I've been carrying the same purse since 2007. It cost an arm and a leg, so I'm carrying it til it's dead, which will be soon. The only time I don't carry it is if I'm going to a fancier soiree, in which I carry a small clutch and no wallet at all, just a small card holder with my debit card and my license, and cash if I have it.

                                              1. re: Vidute

                                                i suffer from a serious bag addiction myself - but more towards the tote bag/luggage end of the spectrum. :)

                                                1. re: jujuthomas

                                                  hmmmmmmm.....maybe i should switch over my addiction. my purses seem to be running out of room! :D

                                          1. re: Cachetes

                                            I am a women, and I change purses more often than you might change your undies. I have not counted them, but I have many, many handbags. Just like I have many necklaces and earrings.

                                            1. re: Cachetes

                                              LOL! But when I change pants, I have to transfer four pockets of stuff--I would certainly notice if I were wearing pants with empty pockets. Do women transfer the entire contents from one purse to another, or is it selective? The bigger point is that men are in physical contact with their wallets, so it is more noticable if it is missing. Compared to a wallet 'once removed' in a purse.

                                              1. re: mwhitmore

                                                depends on the reason for changing purses. so, it can be select items or the entire contents.

                                          2. re: jrvedivici

                                            Men have the lopsided rump to remind them, women have an always filled handbag for crying out loudzy!

                                            I always assume hubs has his wallet and always walk around town wallet and IDless like a little princess. One day it will catch up to me!

                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                              face it most men sit on their wallet, its a lot harder to forget or miss that lump on your posterior than notice that your handbag seems a bit light.

                                              I do have a friend who habitually forgot his wallet. It became a running joke when the gang went out . . . so who's picking up chester's tab tonight . . . (not his real name.) I occasionally got calls when he had gone out alone . . . LOL. He's married now, his wife never forgets her wallet, she says she doesn't dare.

                                              (didn't realize we had the same comment SV)

                                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                I too could have written about a Chester. We laugh about him still.

                                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                  my DH stopped carrying his wallet in his back pocket, on the chiropractor's recommendation, and now carries it in a jacket pocket, so he has ended up w/o his wallet from time to time!

                                              2. My wallet fell out of my pocket at my mom's house. I went to a bar I frequented and had one beer when I realized I didn't have my wallet. I explained to the bar maid and told her I did have my check book. She said they didn't accept checks. I also had my drivers license and offered to leave it w/ her while I retrieved my wallet. She tells me to pay w/ the check and to leave afterward. I do and she's complains because I didn't tip here (I'd planned to return). So I retrieve my wallet and return and show her. All was well.

                                                9 Replies
                                                1. re: Chinon00

                                                  You returned to the place after the bar maid told you to leave and complained because you didn't tip her?

                                                  1. re: AmyH

                                                    I read it as Chinon00 left the check as collateral and returned to pay the bill and collect the check, and leave a tip with cash/card.

                                                    1. re: AmyH

                                                      Yes but I did retrieve the check and pay the whole bill w/ my debit card. At the time it was like one of two bars in the city serving Belgian beer. I like beer.

                                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                                        Chinon I admire your allegiance to Belgian beer. That barmaid had some sizables.

                                                    2. re: Chinon00

                                                      Chinon, your response was far classier than mine would have been in the case of the bar maid who told you to leave. I mean it when I say good for you for not letting one person's attitude ruin your future with a place that you frequent.

                                                      1. re: pinehurst

                                                        If the barmaid knew he couldn't pay, what was wrong with her telling him he had to leave?

                                                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                          I hadn't planned on staying w/o a means to pay. It was understood that there was a problem and I was trying to resolve it.

                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                            If the barmaid was willing to accept a check (and expected a tip to be added on to it - er - trusted that a tip could be cleared from the check) then the matter is generally accepted as settled. It is rude to require the person to leave. The audacity of getting pissy about the tip made me laugh. If the owner heard her, she probably would have been fired.

                                                            1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                              It was center city wannabe tough girl barmaid attitude. No biggie. Read right through it. I returned to the exact same seat.

                                                      2. A few months ago my parents went to dinner and both forgot their wallets. The restaurant suggested they just pay the next time they stopped by, but knew it might be months before they are there again. The 'rents called me, and I paid for their dinner over the phone.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: mpjmph

                                                          How clever of your parents. And what a lovely child you are. Adult child. : )

                                                        2. I've forgotten my wallet before but never had an issue asking to run home or to the hotel or whatever. Maybe I've been lucky in dining at more trusting places.

                                                          I wonder if in 5 years or so this thread will seem silly. One of the major banks already has an app that lets you immediately pay for anything via an instant transfer from account to account. Sort of like Paypal but no credit card needed. This tourist had his phone even though he had forgotten his wallet and my guess is that the phone itself will be used for far more transactions in the near future.

                                                          JeremyEG
                                                          HomeCookLocavore.com

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: JeremyEG

                                                            When plastic credit cards meet their demise the excuse will be.........I have my wallet (empty) but forgot my cell phone!

                                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                                              Then you can always use the Amex chip implanted in your fingertip at birth to pay for the meal. :)
                                                              JeremyEG
                                                              HomeCookLocavore.com

                                                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                and there is also "my cell phone's dead". who among us hasn't forgotten to recharge their phone?

                                                            2. It's nice to read that most people who have had this occur have been given the "benefit of the doubt" by the restaurant and were able to show to the restaurant that the manager's trust was not misplaced. And, it's also great that most business owners don't see a forgetful patron as someone who is trying to get something for nothing.

                                                              10 Replies
                                                              1. re: Vidute

                                                                You're right. It pays to be trusting. The overwhelming majority of the dining public are honest and upstanding when it comes to payment. Now, don't get me started about my problems with Yelp.com -- for some reason that website brings out the worst folks -- the worst!

                                                                  1. re: Vidute

                                                                    No, Vidute. I'm certain you're a fine Yelp contributor. Chowhound is heavily moderated so if you've not been banned and your posts haven't been removed I'm sure you're doing fine here -- and on Yelp.

                                                                    The "worst" is someone who:

                                                                    - attempts to extort free food/bev to which they're not entitled by threatening to use Yelp,

                                                                    - someone who goes out only during "Restaurant Week" and then pans the restaurant 'cause they're not the first one served,
                                                                    - someone who, without visiting the restaurant, maligns a competitive restaurant because they think they're doing one of their favorite places a favor (or worse, has been asked to do so by a competitive restaurant). I believe Yelp asks that you not write a review if you're in any way connected with the restaurant -- people flagrantly violate that rule on Yelp with no consequences.

                                                                    but the very worst is a person who says something on Yelp, under cover of anonymity, that they'd never think of saying to the restaurant management to their face. It's cowardly and despicable.

                                                                    Can you tell that Internet lurkers get my goat?

                                                                    1. re: shaogo

                                                                      Internet lurkers get a lot of goats... I love the business that responded with this :)

                                                                       
                                                                        1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                          If I saw that sign, I go in right away for the meatball sandwich. The management of the place must have a GREAT sense of humor.

                                                                        2. re: shaogo

                                                                          i know you weren't referring to me, shaogo. i was just teasing you a bit! :)

                                                                          i'm the type of person that if something is wrong, i speak with management. if something is fantastic i speak with management. i only go to public forums with commendations or when management has been totally asinine.

                                                                          i'm not a fan of restaurant week, either. over-crowded, rushed, and frequently the selections on the restaurant week menu are nothing like what is on the regular menu.

                                                                      1. re: shaogo

                                                                        Sometimes I think about having a resto in the times of Yelp and I gulp hard. I can imagine that people had bad service at my place. It happens. Especially during lobster season. And competing restaurants - I am SURE they post all sorts of evil. Sigh. Terrible.

                                                                        1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                          Because of the success of our previous venture, when we moved into the new restaurant, the nearby competition started in early. Yelp hasn't removed a single one of the ridiculous posts. Hid some of them, but didn't remove them. Really malicious, outrageous stuff. All we can do is utilize our privilege to respond by rising above the silliness and coolly and factually dispute the posts.

                                                                          My favorite restaurant sign of all was on a website a while ago. The restaurateur wrote this on the "specials" chalkboard outside the restaurant: "Come right in and try the meatballs one Yelper said were the worst he'd ever had."

                                                                          1. re: shaogo

                                                                            I saw that pic. Someone said that the restauranteur was touchy (or something to that effect). I thought it was delightfully tongue in cheek and taking it well. What else can you do if it is BS. If someone criticizes you and it is true, well you rub your cheek and fix the problem.

                                                                    2. left my cash in the car once on a busy morning when I stopped at McD's for a breakfast sandwich. the mgr was pretty ticked that I had to run back out to the car. but that's the only time I can recall not having my money. (thank goodness!)

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                        That shouldn't even count. Money not on you but close by is not really a problem, right?

                                                                        1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                          not a huge one no... that's why I'm grateful it's the only/"worst" time it's happened to me! :-D

                                                                      2. I had it happen once, when I had my wallet, but forgot that my husband had borrowed my bank card that morning. I also had a Discover card available but the restaurant didn't accept Discover. I offered to leave my wallet (ID and all) with them while I ran home to get money. They were completely fine with that and very nice about it.

                                                                        My father had an interesting experience this summer. He and some buddies were at a friend's cabin for the weekend. I don't know if it was fishing or golf related, but I do know it was about 7 60-somethings and a lot of 6-packs. One night they found some tiny mom and pop place in the middle of nowhere and ate their weight in homemade sausages, pierogies and who knows what else. They never seemed to notice this place was cash only and none of them ever seemed to realize that they didn't have any cash (or not enough to cover a bill for 7 men). There were no ATMs nearby, no towns nearby for that matter. The waitress wasn't sure what to do, she called out for the owner. The owner came out, a 70-something woman, in an apron. She eyed the men who were probably all staring up at her like sorry schoolboys, gave them a tsk tsk and then said, ok, mail us the money, now then have another sausage, who wants it, and scurried away and back with another platter of food for them.
                                                                        The first thing my dad did Monday morning was stuff an envelope full of cash to mail. He can't wait to get the chance to go back there.

                                                                        21 Replies
                                                                        1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                          I had the opposite problem (from your first example) when I went to Sam's Club to pick up a bunch of supplies for a party. When I got to the cash register I found out they ONLY took Discover cards and my Master Card was useless. I didn't have nearly enough cash, and had accidently left my checkbook at home. I had to call my husband and wait for him to come and pay for everything. At least the manager was nice enough to put my cart in the cold room so the frozen things wouldn't melt.

                                                                          1. re: AmyH

                                                                            Seriously? Who only takes Discover? To me, that's about the same as a policy accepting only euros at a store in the US.

                                                                            1. re: Isolda

                                                                              That's what I thought, too! This was a few years ago and they did eventually go back to taking all credit cards. But I've been reluctant to shop there ever since that episode. My husband still likes it, though, so when we need something he goes.

                                                                              1. re: AmyH

                                                                                That's very weird. Unless Sam's Club has some very very very special deal going with only Discover.

                                                                                Usually, it's the other way around, that almost no where in any shape or form accepts Discover.

                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                  They did have a very special deal with Discover for a couple of years. They even had booths set up in the store where you could sign up for a Discover card. I don't know if this was nationwide or only in certain places (I'm in upstate NY) but it would have been around 2004 or 2005.Not sure exactly when it ended because I refused to set foot in the place for a few years after my incident.

                                                                                2. re: AmyH

                                                                                  Did they take Diners Club as well?

                                                                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                    Not that I recall. I think it was just Discover. Or were you being facetious?

                                                                                    1. re: AmyH

                                                                                      I'm pretty sure the above poster was being facetious.

                                                                                      But anyhow, Diners Club is probably even more worthless than a few years ago.

                                                                                      1. re: AmyH

                                                                                        Yes I was being slightly facetious, sorry!

                                                                                    2. re: AmyH

                                                                                      they still don't take american express.

                                                                                      1. re: Vidute

                                                                                        Amex is/has always been the most expensive for charges to the service provider that is why you find many places won't honor Amex. The last I recall they were close to 4/5% charge to the vendor when MC/VIsa are closer to 2/3%.

                                                                                        On a side note here in NJ it was recently passed that stores/restaurants etc. can pass along the credit card charge to consumers. So shortly we will be seeing a "service" fee added to our checks in the amount that the credit card company charges the vendor for their service fee.

                                                                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                          maryland is included in the "service fee" area. but, it is optional. it's up to the business whether they want to charge the fee or not. so, except for restaurants/business to which i am addicted, i'll be looking closely at the signage and patronizing those that don't charge the fee.

                                                                                    3. re: Isolda

                                                                                      In my younger days, I was a cashier at a BJ's Wholesale club. We only took Discover for a long time, and were told it was because it was the only card that didn't charge a fee - Sam's had the same policy. We started taking MasterCard, because they had struck a deal to offer a BJ's MasterCard, and thus could accept any MC without paying the fee.

                                                                                  2. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                    Now I'd like to know the name of this dope market.

                                                                                    1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                      i can't blame him...homemade sausages and pierogies! where is this wonderful place?

                                                                                      1. re: Vidute

                                                                                        Somewhere out between Harrisburg and Penn State's Happy Valley, I think... that's as much information as I know. In fact maybe it only appears once every hundred years. The Brigadoon of restaurants... which would explain their cash only policy.

                                                                                        1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                          we have a very popular greek restaurant here in baltimore that is cash only. samos. cash only. no reservations. lines go out the door.

                                                                                          http://www.samosrestaurant.com/

                                                                                          1. re: Vidute

                                                                                            Samos is ok, but Zorba's is way better, not as crowded and serves alcohol. Get the grilled lamb chops.

                                                                                            On the rare occasions when I've been hit with autograt, I've added to it. But the one time I went to try the "famous" crab cake at G&M, they hit my party of two with an 18% autograt, and there was no place on the receipt for me to add to it. I didn't have any cash, so 18% was what she got. Fortunately for me, the food was so terrible I felt no urge to return.

                                                                                            1. re: JonParker

                                                                                              i agree whole-heartedly that zorba's is the better of the two. i mentioned samos because they don't take credit or reservations whereas zorba's does. while at zorba's don't forget to get the grilled octopus.

                                                                                      2. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                        Sausages and Pierogies. Where was this place? Heaven? I like that she sized them up and fully saw those schoolboy faces. Thanks for the story.

                                                                                      3. I did once, and my story is very similar to the op's. I was on a short jaunt in Budapest and I treated myself to a very nice dinner. But like the op, and most ladies, I like to change my bags. I ate, I drank, I enjoyed. And no wallet. After calming myself, I explained to the server with limited English what was going on. He brough out another server with good English with the manager, and I offered to leave some jewelry, my actual handbag, and even to call the hotel and see if the concierge could get my wallet and bring it.
                                                                                        Instead, the kindly woman running the place just laughed and asked me to leave the cash in an envelope at the front desk of my hotel, as her daughter passed by every morning on her way to the restaurant. She said that she was glad I chose her restaurant to experience a bit of Hungary's hospitality, and in return I would not have my things taken from me.
                                                                                        How kind, and phew!
                                                                                        A very generous tip goes without saying in this case.

                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: alliegator

                                                                                          do you remember the name of the restaurant so that if i ever get the chance to visit budapest, i can stop in?

                                                                                          1. re: Vidute

                                                                                            I do not happen to remember, this was in early 2006. But I always journal on trips, so next time I'm at my storage unit, I'll grab that journal out of a box and let you know. I'm have a list of stuff I need from storage, so it'll be in about a few days.
                                                                                            It was lovely there. A small and cozy place and because it was bitter cold and snowing, the dinner was even better.

                                                                                            1. re: alliegator

                                                                                              I'm have a list? Nice typing. Anyways, I've decided to drop by the storage place tomorrow, please do check back as I'll be happy to send possible business her way :)

                                                                                                1. re: Vidute

                                                                                                  Alrighty, I tucked a card into my journal in case the girl didn't show up to collect my payment, and they have a website with an English version:
                                                                                                  http://www.magdalenamerlo.hu/homepage
                                                                                                  There are some Italian things on the menu, but I had a pork dish with potatoes. hope you find your way to Budapest someday, it is very nice and worth visiting :)

                                                                                                  1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                    thank you, alliegator! the meny looks tasty. budapest is on my bucket list, so....

                                                                                                    1. re: Vidute

                                                                                                      I hope you get there! I went in the winter, a bit crazy, but I was in Prague the previous weekend for a wedding and this was a little side trip. The beauty of the city with a blanket of snow is unmatched. And all the little restaurants and bars are kept nice and warm. A fun jaunt.

                                                                                        2. Here's another instance where you can really get into trouble:

                                                                                          You have your wallet with you and a credit card but no cash, at least not enough cash to cover the high cost meal. But your credit card number has been fraudulently pilfered so now you look like a complete ass because the credit card company has put a kibbosh on your card due to the fraudelent activity, and you don't have cash.

                                                                                          it might be even worse, because you think you are good to go, but you are not, when the credit card comes back declined.

                                                                                          13 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                                                            Similar has happened to me. My one bank shuts down my credit card after some spending threshold every time I travel out of town to protect against potential fraud. It is always rectified by a simple phone call, but it's embarrassing. It usually happens in a store, but happened once in a restaurant in Chicago.

                                                                                            1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                              I call my bank in advance to let them know when and where I'm travelling so they can put a "travel alert" on the card and won't block it.

                                                                                              1. re: Chatsworth

                                                                                                Oh, good thinking. That's a good idea.

                                                                                                The credit card services is pretty good at detecting fraudelent activity, based on their algorithms, or patterns of activity is that what they call it ?

                                                                                                But sometimes there is a miss.

                                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                                  My cards all allow you to do this online now, too. It's always on my list of things to do before a trip.

                                                                                                2. re: Chatsworth

                                                                                                  Yep, this is the preferred method, and everytime my card gets shut off they remind me I can just call in advance, and it won't happen. But I procrastinate a lot, and with everything hectic at the last minute, I always forget. Still, when it gets shut off I always kick myself for not calling in advance.

                                                                                                  1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                    I guess you can call even at the restaurant, if the cad gets declined, which is better than having to go to a bank to get the cash when you are already at the restaurant.

                                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                                      Yeah, that's what I did - stepped outside briefly, called the bank, and the card was useable again within 5 minutes of it being declined.

                                                                                                      I usually throw a second card in my money clip anymore so that I can deal with payment immediately and make a call when I'm free.

                                                                                                  2. re: Chatsworth

                                                                                                    Out of neccessity, I do that too but last time they shut my card down because I took a taxi in my city of residence which they thought was "abnormal behavoir." It was a taxi to the airport and regardless of the fact that they knew I was flying to NYC, by the time I landed, my card was shut down and they wouldn't reopen it until I went into a bank. It was not super easy to get into Manhattan with no money (but I did it...)

                                                                                                    1. re: Chatsworth

                                                                                                      I do the same, or if I'm going to make an unusually large purchase (which is basically almost never)

                                                                                                      1. re: Chatsworth

                                                                                                        I do the same for travel. And for the debit/atm, I always stop in the bank. They do it right there. While I'm there, I pick up a few $100 prepaid cards for use with sketchier looking vendors, or if I'll be shopping in an area that's known for pickpocketing.

                                                                                                        1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                          I've never thought of the prepaid cards, great idea.

                                                                                                          Besides my earthquake/natural disaster kit in the trunk, I always keep $200 in small bills hidden someplace in the car that no valet or car wash person could ever find.

                                                                                                          1. re: BubblyOne

                                                                                                            I used to do that until I realized that I would forget that I had stashed them there. It made for some nice surprises months or years later, but it also screwed up my vacation accounting.

                                                                                                    2. re: kevin

                                                                                                      I had that happen to me. My husband was using his in WA DC and I was in Ft. Myers FL I think. Anyway we were both out to dinner at the same time and I got declined (he did not). I had another card luckily. It was a little embarrassing. They rectified it later.

                                                                                                    3. Do I love this story? Yes I do.

                                                                                                      We had a restaurant long ago. It was in a resort area where people often spent the day drinking. Consequently we had quite a few people forget their wallets. We would generally just take down their name and where they were staying in case they forgot about what happened. If a local forgot their wallet or did not for some reason have enough money, we just wrote it down and they settled later. Something I may be disinclined to do in a big town.

                                                                                                      Only one time did someone not return. We called and they had checked out. The resort gave me their address and I wrote them. They wrote me back with a check. So zero losses.

                                                                                                      If people want to steal, they just eat and walk out (which happened once when we were balls to the wall slammed).

                                                                                                      1. A few yrs ago I took a friend to eat at an inexpensive Japanese restaurant. I didn't forget my wallet; but, i didn't have the money either. It was her very first time eating sushi, and I had not yet become a regular. We both loved our dinners. It wasn't until I was ready to take my last bit that I saw, "cash only". So I whispered to my server that my friend would stay while I 'dashed' to the B of A teller. Reluctantly they agreed to trust me. When I finished transacting at the teller and headed back to Sawtelle, I could not spot the restaurant. I went up and down Sawtelle, from Olympic to Santa Monica Blvd ab 4 or 5 trips bf I finally spotted it. Sweating profusely, I nervously walked in. Nobody said anything rude or unkind, but I did notice all the waitstaff and chefs heaved a collective sigh of relief. Now I am a regular and always remember to take my cash.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. A few years ago, my SO and I went to Da Afghanan Kabobs in Fremont, California. We ordered our food, it was ready, and we were ready to pay, when we realized that it was a cash-only place. We said that we would go to the bank a few doors down, but they said that our food would get cold and that we could come back later (we came back right away, and the food wad still delicious).