Keep it Simple
I felt that I had to write about his issue because there seems to be some confusion. The topic is pretty simple, or at least it should be.
How to pay your tab.
The first step is to actually acknowledge that your server/bartender/waitron/personal whipping boy has indeed left you a bill.
It's hard work, I know, believe it or not I have to eat as well and on occasion I pick up the tab, ok on almost all occasions since I am a male and it seems to be my assigned duty, though I would like to thank that nice girl from a couple weeks back that at least made an effort to reach for the bill.
Acknowledgement, that doesn’t mean become squatters and hang out for an hour and the sheepish, “oh, I forgot!” doesn’t fly well either.
But at least that’s better than the occasional, “Yeah, we’ll pay when we’re ready/are you in a hurry for us to leave?” being snapped at me.
You are ready, you aren’t ordering anymore, you said you were finished or you even asked for the bill.
This goes double for the hated late night diner that wants to camp out, yes I am in a hurry for you to leave and I’d rather have my paperwork set for the office so I can get paid than to sit on the other side of the room with my thousand yard stare being glared at you as you dawdle.
I’ve also noticed two bad habits that the diner has taken up, the first is the most insidious. The diner picks up the check presenter, looks it over, then puts it in front of them leans on it for what seems like hours.
That’s not an armrest, that’s something you put fucking money in.
The second habit is putting a credit card or cash in book so it cannot be seen and then placing it exactly in the position that I left it in. Most servers just tip toe around the table after that not knowing if they should pick up the presenter, as they don’t know if payment has been made. As a rookie server many moons ago I was accosted by an unruly guest for not making their payment in time due to this. I learned quickly and now have no problem asking if payment has been made.
So you managed to actually pick up the check by now, here’s step two, actually read the fucking thing. This counts for credit slips as well. Yes your waiter will make mistakes in their life and dicking up you check is one of them. Its much easier to ask questions when you are there than to make angry phone calls to your credit card company or our office.
Another good reason to peruse your bill is the inclusion of gratuities/service fees corkage fees or any other fee or tax. Yes your server should cover this or make a note on the check, but at the end of the day its your responsibility as well to look at the bill and its far easier than to haggle over the phone for refunds and such.
I have been on the end of nasty phone calls and sit downs with management over getting the double tip or people plain pissed that we charged money for them to bring in their own wine.
As for corkage fees, fucking deal with it, if I had my way there would be no outside food or beverages brought in, period. The other day I had a twenty-five top with a limited menu, I was excited until I saw the wine listed for the evening, not a single bottle was on our list.
Guess how much I lost out on that because they brought their own wine?
I estimated my loss at $100, not to mention that was my only table of the night since they camped out and I lost my later reservations to the closer, so maybe it was more like $200 I lost, however we will just deal with the corkage for now.
I’ve always placed it akin to me not wanting to pay for a bottle of beer at the bar and walking in with a six-pack of High Life, I don’t care if your bottle is special or not, use it at your own dinner party, not where the sale of wine is the bread and butter of both the restaurant and its staff.
But back on track to the checks…
I’m a big fan of Keep It Simple, Stupid.
1. Pick up the check within a minute or two of receiving it.
2. Read the fucking thing.
3. Fumble with the credit card slot like an invalid or place cash in a conspicuous manner.
4. Place presenter on the edge of a table.
5. Fucking leave, squatters don’t pay rent.
How hard was that? School’s out kids.