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Couple Arrested For not Leaving A Tip ..Right or Wrong????

posted 3/29/2010 4:31:57 PM |
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We all know it sucks to receive bad service in a restaurant, but we didn't know, until now, that it could end up with you being handcuffed and driven away in a police car.

University students Leslie Pope and John Wagner headed out for a meal at the Lehigh Pub in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA, and say they had extremely shoddy service. The waitress ignored their requests for new cutlery and refills on their drinks, instead spending most of the meal smoking outside. To make matters worse, their meal of chicken wings and fries was over an hour in arriving.

So when it came time to pay the bill, the pair (who were with a group of eight friends) decided not to leave a tip. So far, so normal. Except they claim the bartender, after listening to their explanation of why they weren't going to pay the $17 gratuity, took the money they gave him for the food bill and then called the police.

The couple were accused of theft, cuffed, arrested and driven to the police station. The pub claims that the tip was mandatory due to the size of their party, and that they had offered a discount on the bill to make up for the poor service. The couple deny this, and the charges have just been dropped.

Commenters across the US are outraged, but what do you think? Is making the tip in a restaurant mandatory OK, even when it's an excuse to deliver poor service and get away with it?

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Mar 29 @ 4:54PM  
I managed a restaurant that for larger groups had a mandatory tip BUT if the service was poor they automatically got part of the bill taken off........if it was more than one waitress and the complaint was about only one of them.........she/he did not receive their part of the gratuity and it was split with the the way...they were written up and if it occurred again they were terminated. There is no excuse to have wait staff or anyone else that deals with customers not doing their job. BUT i think going to jail was a bit harsh..........and I would be suing that restaurant. I also do not go to places that do demand a mandatory gratuity. I am a good tipper because I have worked where my biggest part of my wages was tips...........but if I am not allowed to decide how much i am going to give that wait staff............than I will go somewhere I can.

Mar 29 @ 4:57PM  
If it is included in the prices then you are required to pay it as it is part of the bill. In these situations there are usually more than one side to the story. Where these the kind of patrons who wanted something else every couple of minutes to the point of being unreasonable? I have seen patrons in places that just about drove the poor waiter or waitress crazy with demands on their time. When she was outside was she on a scheduled break? There are some people who do not think the people helping them in public places need a break, lunch or to even go home after work even if the store or eating place is closed. The food being late was probably not her fault unless she was also the cook. If you are not happy with something you should speak to a manager not try to stiff someone out of their money. What people seem to forget is that people who work in food service are not paid mininum wage, they can get paid as little as $3.25 an hour and if someone does not leave a tip then that is all they get. Maybe service was poor, but that should have been taken up with whoever was in charge, not just refuse to pay part of the bill. And they have the option of not eating there next time.

Mar 29 @ 5:01PM  
I would like to see a validating link to this story. please. Not accusing you, Doc, but I continually see too much disinformation spread through emails that is passed on as being "true" when it is bullshit.

Mar 29 @ 5:12PM  

Heres a link for you Bruce..........

Mar 29 @ 6:03PM  
Apparently the story is true but nonetheless it's bull shit. Yeah & when I fart & you don't smell it then you owe me ten dollars for a well mannered polite fart. I a cab driver once told me that after certain hours that you had to pay a mandatory tip about ten years ago. Guess what !! I gave him one of these > .
gratuity |gr?'t(y)ooite|
noun ( pl. -ties)
money given in return for some service or favor, in particular See note at present .
• formal a tip given to a waiter, taxicab driver, etc.
ORIGIN late 15th cent.(denoting graciousness or favor): from Old French gratuité or medieval Latin gratuitas ‘gift,’ from Latin gratus ‘pleasing, thankful.’
Get the fuck out of here for shitty service ? It always isn't fair but whatever happened to the customer is always right. They may think it's cute but that $ 17 dollars may have hurt their business since being on the news & I hope it does.

Mar 29 @ 7:04PM  
My sister is a waitress and she has said large groups are charged a mandatory gratuity. And she has said that if one of the staff is "lousy"...then they don't get their share of the tip. Where she works, the gratuity is calculated into the bill..and it's listed on the bill. Also..when the reservations are made..they are told that the gratuity will be part of the bill.

As for arresting these two..that's going a bit too far. Although...I'm going have to bring this to my managers attention at the hotel..... .I think it should be mandatory that people leave tips for us who have to clean up after them. I mean..after all, we made sure the room was clean, fresh linens, clean cups/mugs/coffee maker, microwave etc...

Mar 29 @ 8:32PM  
Thanks for the link Dayna..
I forgot about the blog po-lice

Mar 29 @ 8:50PM  

I have constrewed that if I answer this either way. I'm going to piss people off.
I therefore take the 5 th.

Mar 29 @ 8:51PM  
I also understand sometimes you have customers who will exaggerate and lie just to get out of paying something. When they saw how busy the place was, they could have left and gone somewhere else that was less busy. I wonder what is not being said about this matter if it went as far as the police being called in the first place. I just have a feeling there is more to it than is being said in this article.

Mar 29 @ 9:13PM  
Let me clarify a few things, 'cuz I actually know this place.

First of's not an isolated incident. These are actual reviews posted about the pub going back way before the arrest even happened:

The waiters and the management are very rude and treat everybody as if they were doing them a favor for spending money at this bad place.

There was stuff floating in my beer and they wouldn't give me a new one.

This place is just really, really awful. Avoid like the plague.

It's a dump. Service sucks. The kitchen probably spits in the food. But they're on first name terms with the police.

Along with dozens more. So why does it keep happening? They are right across from a university, and the new students coming in who don't know about it give it enough business to stay afloat.

And for the record, only one day after the story hit the charges were dropped.

What does that say about the place?

Mar 29 @ 9:23PM  
Arrest me Now PLz!!
Homie don't play that game..... !!!
I "Tip"
When a "Tip" is dew....
I "Try Not" to go to those Places.....that want the "Tip" Up front..!!!
Gotta earn it....So I see it!!!

Mar 29 @ 9:25PM  
I work as a waitress. We don't have the manditory gratuity, If we have big parties they tip(hopefully) what they feel like tipping. I make $3.65 a hour so I rely on tips to make a living. I feel if I give them good service I should be tipped. I have on a average 2-3 parties a day not tip. There is nothing wrong with the service. But yet they don't feel like they need to tip.
Not to long ago I had 3 old women come in. The minute they sat down I knew It was not going to be good. One of them started to bitch when they sat down. They ran me to death asking for this and that. I really wanted to speak my mind but had to bite my tongue. The customer is always right where I work. If you are not happy with the service or food you don't pay for it. I had a customer not too long ago say she had a hair in her food after she ate most of it. I took off some of it. She ate the main meal. Then she bitched to my manager about it not being taken off the bill. He asked me if she ate the food. I told him that she had. She still got her food for free. I swear people come in just to eat for free.
If I take a break and have tables I tell them that I am going on break and if they need anything to let the server know that is in my area while I am gone.
My job is to make sure my customer's are happy and if they are not it is up to me to fix the problem. I have regular customer's that come in and ask for me.

I hate when customer's come in and run me for everything they can think of and not tip me. I had a party of 3 the other day. One of them was a child who made a huge mess. I had to clean it up since that is my job also. They didn't tip me.

Mar 29 @ 9:35PM  
I appreciate the link Dayna. Often there are mandatory gratuities for wait staff in parties of ten or more. But the patrons are not liable, the booking party is. Normally, of course, these things can be worked out without such crap going to the press. It damned sure doesn't reflect well on the restaurant in its public perception.

If I think that service sucks, I leave a penny. That sends a crystal clear message. I have done this more than once.

Mar 30 @ 12:40AM  
I usually leave tips, but I don't think people shoud be forced to tip...

Mar 30 @ 2:01PM  
They took the money for the food bill??? If you are not going to pay for the food and the service and food are bad...After you have ate it you owe for it! Why not stop, at the time of the problem, ask for a manager and then walk away! you cant be charged for food you don't eat!

Mar 30 @ 3:15PM  
I have worked in restaurants and bars on and off since 1981. There has never been the slightest suggestion that the tip is mandatory when added to the check. If a restaurant or bar adds the gratuity on parties of 6 or more or whatever their standard is, then it is usually stated at the bottom of their menus or mentioned at the time the group calls to make the reservation. During my experiences it has never been stated or printed that you have to pay the added gratuity. I have never been subjected to a party that wasn't willing to pay the tip portion of their bill when it was a group of six or more, but I have seen it happen. A customer has the right to tip at will, there is no law.

Mar 30 @ 3:40PM  
Okay here I come lol First off minium wage for a server is 2.13 hr. Tips are earned not guaranteed. For this reason I HATE when we have sport teams in our hotel. I waited on 61 people kids and adults in under one hour good service lots of smiles and laughing. They had coupons with "gratituty not included" highlighted I did NOT recieve any tips. I got 5 from 2 other tables later that morning. I heard over the weekend the person who worked my shift didn't get any either. I have waited tables for over 30 yrs I am the easiest person to wait on, I also tip well for good service. I will leave a dollar for bad service and that is because I know things happen in a persons life that can't be helped but be brought into the work place. If you can't afford to tip then stay home that is JMO

Mar 30 @ 3:57PM  
Note to self: Bethlehem PA.. do not go there. If I get shit service they will get their tip written on a napkin from an old waitress to a new one..

Mar 31 @ 6:28AM  
guess it wouldn't pay to mention in Australia you don't have to tip anyone.

Mar 31 @ 8:42AM  
Thanks for all of your input.

Mar 31 @ 10:59AM  
If I think that service sucks, I leave a penny. That sends a crystal clear message.
I agree it does & I got told that I had to leave a strip club for throwing a penny on stage & telling her that's all she is worth but of course everyone knew we were involved & just had a falling out.
If you can't afford to tip then stay home that is JMO
I tip no less than five for not so good service but when it is absolutely terrible I give a waitress or waiter to redeem themselves but if they don't oh well. You can see when someone is really trying or not.
Gotta earn it....So I see it!!!
Right ! Otherwise hold a sign on the street if you want a handout.
A customer has the right to tip at will, there is no law.
In closing I do sympathize with what a waitress gets paid & it should be more but maybe that is the problem with them expecting a tip but a customers main thought is paying for good food first. That is the attraction & with poor service no matter how good it is it makes for a bad atmosphere.

Mar 31 @ 3:08PM  
After reading Lisa and Alybia's comments about how much they make an hour for waitressing.........and yes I worked in ohio as a waitress and only made 3 dollars an hour but i did want to mention in Minnesota you make minimum wage or more and hour but pay taxes on that and 12% of the sales for you that day (unless you can prove you made less than that..........and if you need to find another job)...........just saying

Apr 1 @ 5:22PM  
So you would think that it would be reasonable to not make a tip mandatory. The problem is that in some places the staff are paid much less then minimum wage. My question is, is how legal is it to not pay these people at least minimum wage? I know, its expected that if you work in the food industry, you are going to get tips at some point in time. Not all the time though, and people should not have to be forced to pay a tip. I understand, it is a business and the major companies want to pay as little as they can so they can make money but statistics continue to show that happily paying employers have happily working employees. Maybe, just maybe the food service industry needs to start paying people...

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Couple Arrested For not Leaving A Tip ..Right or Wrong????