Life / Marie's Thoughts / Tips/Advice / Work

The Dashing Diners

Saturday night, I was working a double shift at work.  After my 15 minute break, I saw that the manager had put me in a section that I’m not usually in (at the front of the house, near the hostess desk and the front door).  Now, normally, that’s a pretty good section, but seeing as how it was a quieter night, I only had 2 tables.

It started off well and everyone was very nice and polite.  At one point I saw my table lifting their hands to get my attention, so I walked over and asked if everything was alright.  They were 3/4 done their meal and thought maybe they wanted to take the rest of their food home.  But instead, the girl asked me for another Coke and the guy asked for a glass of water.  So, on my way towards the kitchen, I picked up the Coke, grabbed a glass of water, and headed back to the table.

As I got closer, however, I noticed that no one was sitting there anymore.  The plates were still on the table, so nobody had given them the bill in the few moments I was gone, otherwise they would have cleared the table.  I ran to the hostess desk and asked if anyone saw them leave.  One of them explained to me that the couple said they were going out for a smoke and would be back.  I felt better, but when I looked outside I didn’t see them standing by the door.  I thought to myself Maybe they went to smoke in their car…it is really cold outside, but deep down I had a sinking feeling and knew better.  They had just dined and dashed.

I waited 15 minutes, just in case they’d come back, but they never did.  I was furious!  It was the first time this has ever happened to me and I couldn’t believe it.  How can you just walk into a restaurant, order drinks, appetizers, two main meals and just leave without paying?

I told a coworker of mine about it and he told me that Karma’s a bitch and that they’ll get what’s coming to them.  He said that this happens from time to time and to just let it go, because there’s nothing you can do about disgusting people like that.  He’s right.  There’s nothing you can do.

So, I put on a smile for the rest of my customers and something amazing happened.  I got the best tables I’ve ever had on a Saturday night.  I was getting 20-25% tips all night.  One table said that the next time they would come, they’d ask for my section because I was really nice and they really enjoyed having me as a waitress.  A group of 8 people said that they had the best service they ever had at any restaurant.  It was just amazing.  Starting the night off with a bunch of thieves, I thought that maybe it would be “one of those nights”, especially since it was a full moon, but it turned out completely differently.

Sure, Karma’s a bitch.  But, it can also turn around and send good vibes to a good person who deserves it.  Thank you, Karma.  Just one question to the couple who left without paying:  How do you sleep at night?

So, to all those diners out there, please show some respect and actually pay for the food and service you are receiving.  Otherwise, you’re just a thief.

See you tomorrow morning!

GMJ SunGood Morning, Joe Marie


32 thoughts on “The Dashing Diners

    • The trick is that they ask you to get them something and then they take off as you’re going to get it. They sit close to the front so that they have less of a chance of getting caught on their way out. The “Oh, we’re not leaving, we’re just going out for a smoke” is the best way to sneak out because people are always getting up to go for a quick smoke.

  1. Before I became a columnist, I was a chef for 15 years and worked the front of the house regularly as well. In tougher times, the dine-n-dash happens more often. I always just told myself if people are that desperate, I don’t mind the $3 to $5 it cost me for that meal. But I always made sure to make it up to the server somehow because they’re the ones who get the shaft. Usually a nice dessert to take home or trade-out with another restaurant did the trick ;)

  2. My brother manages a restaurant, and he said this has been happening more often, and no matter how hard they watch for it, there is no way to completely stop it. Sorry this happened to you, Marie, but really glad your night turned out so well.

    • Yeah, I know it’s part of working in a restaurant, it happens often and there is nothing you can do about it. But it just gets me down that there are people out there who have no problem doing it. Just like murder and all that kind of HORRIBLE stuff in the world. Makes me a little crazy, ya know?

      • I know! Our son is a young guy, and he knows people that would think nothing of doing something like this. He comments all the time how even some his close friends seem to have no common sense. They think they’re entitled, or a stunt like this won’t hurt anybody. They just don’t think.

  3. Thanks for sharing this story Marie…it reminds me that we really have no control over how other people behave or treat us or their level of integrity. All we can really do is do and BE the best we can be. And yeah, I’m a big believer in karma :)

  4. Holy crap, if someone did that to me and I ever saw them again I’d key their car. I’d NEVER run out on a bill–bad tip for bad service–but to not pay? Come on, now. Food theft? Aren’t we better than that!

      • I think you should be allowed to come up with the waitress equivalent of that. Like maybe bill & bail–you get their money to go and get change and you suddenly disappear.

        • Hahaha! Wow! I wonder if there are some waiters who do that in hopes that the people will get fed up of waiting and leave. Or they pull the “Oh I forgot!” sort of thing. Hmmmm…the problem with trying to find that out though is that no one will admit it.

  5. I’m glad everything worked out for you. I’ve had people scam me out of stuff from my work, and it just sucks knowing that people do that on purpose. But you did the right thing and I’m proud of you for that.

    Seriously though, our government has a food stamp program, and then there is unemployment too. So for someone to be desperate enough to dine and dash is one that’s beyond me. You’d figure if people really need help that badly they’d ask for it, but maybe there are some that are too proud to beg. Whatever the case may be…I hope they get what’s commin’ to them.

      • In that situation, yes. It’s easy to be a good person because it’s not like you can track them down.

        But with other situations, it can be tough. Sometimes something happens that totally shakes someone up; for them the only way they know how to respond is acting in retaliation out of emotion. I would know because I’m there right now, depending on what happened it can take a lot to bite back on those emotions and just accept what happened. Some of us are better at it than others, and that’s why I think it’s harder for others to be good.

  6. I think my favorite was a bar customer ordering a flatbread and another beer, going to the “bathroom” and then never coming back. Walked out on a $200+ bar tab. He was buying a few rounds.

  7. Pingback: An Evening Out On Valentine’s Day | Good Morning, Joe

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