I was at work yesterday at my serving job, when my fellow-server came running to me, in tears. Her table had just walked out without paying their bill, which was $67. That was a bill she would have to pay out of her own pocket. It sucks, but the fact of the matter is that the walk-outs happen in the restaurant industry more often than you would expect.
It is a matter of trust, of course. We trust that the people who are eating at our establishment will ask for the bill, pay and then leave, so that we can all maintain a happy, cooperative society. It would be a horrible place to come eat, if we asked you for your payment up-front before you could enjoy your meal. That would make things awkward, uncomfortable, untrusting. You know how uncomfortable you get when you know someone around you doesn’t trust you and is watching you like a hawk, in order to ensure that they do not leave or steal or do something else illegal and detrimental.
Of course, the problem was that the girl would have to pay out of pocket. She worked a long 8 hour shift on her feet, washing dishes, serving people, chatting, laughing, and she got a bit of a tip for it, a 10% tip, supposed to be 15%, and now she would spend all of her tip money on paying off a bill for a group of white guys who could probably afford it, better than she could. Life sucks, and then it gets better (or worse depending on who you ask).
Every server has gone through the same thing and we all wonder the same question, why, why, why. Why did they do this? Do they not realize we pay out of pocket? Would it change their mind if they did know that the restaurant or the franchise doesn’t pay for it? Why would someone do such an evil thing? It is like getting suckerpunched in the stomach for the first few moments after your realize you had a walkout. You feel disoriented, and angry. Really angry. You want to call those people names, go to their houses and throw shit at their beds on them while they are sleeping.
After all that, all you can do is laugh at the world and laugh at yourself. Otherwise, you might cry.