143 How do you feel about this incident?


Tom Garrett 3 years, 11 months ago

A female pastor went into an Applebee's, shared some appetizers with eight or nine friends, and received a bill for $29.60 to which an automatic 18%, or $5.32, had been added, making it $34.93.

The woman paid it, but added a note that said, "I give God 10%, why do you get 18?"

The waitress who served the table apparently either just let the comment go or didn't notice it. Either way, she did nothing about it.

However, another waitress took a picture of the receipt, added a comment to it, and posted it on a social networking site

The comment was, "I'm sure Jesus will pay for my rent and groceries."

In case you are not aware of the meaning of that comment, waitresses in Missouri where this incident took place do not get paid the minimum wage of $7.35 an hour. They are only paid $3.63 an hour based on the fact that they presumably get tips.

Thousands of people on the social network posted comments; they were picked up and posted on other social networks. The customer who had written the original comment heard about it. She contacted the restaurant. The waitress who posted it was fired.

Applebee is getting flack for firing the waitress.

A couple of Facebook pages have been set up in support of the waitress.

What's your feeling about this incident?

Was someone wrong? Who?

What would you have done if you had been (a) the customer, (b) the waitress who posted the comment, (c) Applebees?

How does the fact that the woman who wrote the comment on the check was a female pastor affect all this?

(Please hold any comments on the minimum wage laws. It was obvious that comments on the minimum wage laws would interfere with the real subject of this discussion, so I thought it would be wise to put up a separate string on that subject. The name of the string is. "153 Your feelings about the Arizona minimum wage." It has already been posted.)


Ruby Finney 3 years, 11 months ago

It has always annoyed me that restaurant owners expect their customers to pay salaries for their employees. I say this as a former waitress who worked in the years before this was done by adding the "gratuity" to the check.

I believe a tip should be given if a server does give good service and the amount of the tip should be decided by the customer --- not the restaurant owner.

The change in the minimum wage for restaurant workers in California was initiated by the State Legislature by allowing the employer to deduct the cost of meals eaten by servers
(while on duty) from their hourly wage. As I remember, the amount which could be deducted was specified in the legislation. This has gradually evolved into the current minimum wage for servers of about one half the minimum wage. Ain't politics great ?


Kim Chittick 3 years, 10 months ago

I agree with Bernice with regard to being annoyed that restaurant owners automatically add 18% gratuity to the checks of large parties. In my opinion, a gratuity should be a "reward" for a job well done. However, that being said, many times groups of 6 or more typically take up a large table for much more than the average time alloted for a meal. And then by the time the check arrives, people have forgotten that they ordered that extra dessert or appetizer or drink, and are surprised or dismayed by how much their share of the bill is, so since the bill portion was so pricey, guess what portion gets shorted? Yep, the tip. So, one poor wait- person had been running their tooshie off all night to accommodate everybody in your party, as well as the other tables they have to take care of, and they are the one who gets shorted.

As for this particular case: In my opinion, the "Pastor" was totally out of line.

First, why did she have to sign her title on the credit card receipt? I sincerely doubt that her credit card indicates "Pastor So and So".

Next, 6 people at the table and the bill was only $29.60? Even at Applebee's, that is REALLY cheap. I don't think that 6 people could eat for $29.60 at McDonald's, let alone Applebee's. I think that the "Pastor" and her 5 friends wanted a meeting place and Applebee's was it. They probably ordered soft drinks, coffee or water, maybe an appetizer that they all shared. They likely kept the waitress hopping, wanting refills, etc.

The question posed is: "What would you have done if you had been (a) the customer, (b) the waitress who posted the comment, (c) Applebees?" Now, I am not certain if this question is referring to during or after, the incident, so I will address both. If I had been the customer, I would have left at least a $10 tip, and thanked the waitress profusely and apologized for holding up a big table from being "turned over". As for after, that is difficult, as I would NEVER treat a wait person this way. Although to address the question, once I had been made aware of the rudeness of my behavior, I would certainly not have contacted the restaurant and risked getting a wait person fired. I likely would have let it lie and hoped it would blow over. If I'd been the waitress who posted the comment: Again, this a tough one for me to address, as I would never post something like that as I value privacy and anonymity far too highly. And besides, with age, I have learned to mind my own business and not always try to fight others battles. I would not have done what she did, especially in light of the fact that she was not even the server who was slighted.


Kim Chittick 3 years, 10 months ago


As for what Applebee's did, versus what I would have done: I would not have fired the waitress. I would have counseled her and reminded her about privacy and diplomacy. I would also have apologized profusely to the customer for her embarassment and loss of privacy and anonymity, but I would not have kowtowed to the customer, nor would I have made any concessions, ie; a free meal at a later time, etc. This because the addition of the 18% gratuity to the bill was not made by the waitress, but automatically by the restaurant.

Finally, the fact that this woman is a Pastor and made certan that fact was well known, means she should have been that much more polite and compassionate. In my opinion, this woman seems to believe that the fact of being a Pastor accords her some special treatment. Sorry, as Forrest Gumps Mama says, "ugly is as ugly does".


Tom Garrett 3 years, 10 months ago

"ugly is as ugly does"

Says a lot doesn't it?

I'll tell you how I feel about the pastor:

a. It sickens me to see someone in the church making such an un-Christian remark in writing.

b. Having erred severely, I would have realized that my comment about a fifty cent tip on a five dollar meal was not appropriate, and that invoking religion was even less appropriate; and I would have gotten online, said so, apologized, and used the audience I had to do my job of spreading the Word.

c. Having done that, I'd have opened my Bible, reread the Sermon on the Mount, and based my next sermon on how easy it can be at times to lose sight of the true meaning of Christianity.

I guess poor Applebees had little choice. They had to take some action. I don't think my action would have been a knee-jerk firing of the waitress because I would understand that the main reason for her attack was probably her feeling of outrage at someone for using religion to attack the idea of leaving a tip.

I will say one other thing, and that is about Applebees tip system. If someone comes into my restaurant and eats, and then feels that the service deserves a tip, large or small, that is up to the person. What I would charge is what is says on the menu. If I wanted to charge 18% more to pay the waitress, then the menu would have prices on it that were 18% higher. Anything else is deceptive. On top of that, it is a way of abusing a system that allows you to pay waitresses less than they earn.

Besides which, this is a free country. There are some people who walk through the door of a restaurant on very rare occasions because they just do not have the money to eat out. They should be able to decide for themselves whether or not they want to tip a waitress. Maybe they just have enough to eat. The system at Applebees ruins the whole idea of tipping, which as we all know comes from signs that used to say To Improve Service. It is supposed to be a nice reward, one that makes both the server and customer feel good, something that ends a meal out on a high note. The Applebee method sounds like something out of a corporate gouge-the-while-you've-got-them manual--un-American and un-Christian.

Guess whether or not I will ever eat in Applebees again now that I have read about that practice?


Pat Randall 3 years, 10 months ago

I don't think restaurants should be allowed to put a tip on ticket.
It is really money in thier pocket as they are getting away with not paying a fair wage and want to make it up from the customer.


Dan Haapala 3 years, 10 months ago

TIP...I couldn't find a reference to back up what I was taught but the term, as expained to me, was " To insure promptness", As I was told by one who experienced it, Back in the 1920s a tip was given to get a good table and exemplary service.Good 'tippers' were given special treatment and the best food. Today the term has taken on a different meaning that many interpret to mean 'to insure professional service'. I have mixed emotions about tipping. First; I would like to think that when I went to any restaurant I would be made to feel special and willing to pay the bill what ever it was. Second: I would not want a waiter/ess that didn't feel the need to go the extra mile for me. Life is what it is and I tip, or don't tip, when I feel it's the right thing to do. How much I tip. when I tip, depends on the service.....Sometimes I tip very well indeed.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 10 months ago

"First; I would like to think that when I went to any restaurant I would be made to feel special and willing to pay the bill what ever it was."

Exactly right, Dan. You said what I'm sure everyone was thinking. A restaurant, or any other retail business, thrives or fails depending on how a customer feels while he or she is there, and even more importantly how he or she feels after he goes out the door. It's esepecially true in a restaurant today because unless most stores you have a specific person who takes are of you, and so that person IS the restaurant as far as you feel.

"Second: I would not want a waiter/ess that didn't feel the need to go the extra mile for me." Right again. The person serving should look, sound, and act as though he or she is happy to be taking care of you. It's the job, for crying out loud. What else is that person there for?

As for tipping, I agree again. A tip is NOT something that should be expected; it should be earned, not by just slinging hash in front of me, but by making me feel that I was treated with extra care.

And Pat is right, of course. If a place that puts the tip on the bill I go there exactly once. As soon as I see what they are doing I eat elsewhere. Putting the tip on the bill is nothing less than an insult. It says, "We are so cheap we don't pay our waitresses a fair wage. If you want to eat here you're going to have to pay them to make up for how cheap we are." I'm going to go back to a place like that?

Anyway, a tip is for something extra. Your hourly wage should be for what you do for the company. Your tip should be yours to pocket--for doing MORE than you get paid to do, not just the minimum.


Susan Daniels 3 years, 10 months ago

I agree with Dan and Tom. Many years ago I was a waitress. Sure, you get to know your regulars and how they tip. Every customer should be given good service, big tipper or not. The restaurants shouldn't tack on the tip. They should pay their employees a better wage and not expect the customer to make up the wage difference. Tips are reported and taxed just like salary. You go to a restaurant for the good food and service.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 10 months ago

Thanks, Susan.

It always seems that people who have "been there and done that" have the most sensible--and usually the most honest--comments.

I wonder why that is? :-)


Susan Daniels 3 years, 10 months ago

"Thanks, Susan. It always seems that people who have "been there and done that" have the most sensible--and usually the most honest--comments. I wonder why that is? :-)"

In my case, at this phase of my life, good or bad, my filter has been disabled. :-)


Pat Randall 3 years, 10 months ago

I don't think it is fair for the waiters to have to put thier tips in a community container to be divided later among all the waitress, bus boys, etc. You should be able to keep your tips, not give part of them to someone else or take thiers if you don't deserve them.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 10 months ago

Pat, you are absolutely right. If that's a good method, why don't we just take all the wages paid in any company for any type of job, divide them up equally, and dish them to everyone who does that job? Doing that, by the way, would be straight-up socialism, so I wonder how anyone who really believe in private enterprise can even suggest such a thing.

Aren't tips supposed to reward the people who earn them?

People are not all workers. We have a lot of drones. I'll never remember one kid we hired as a stockboy in our company. He was slow sweeping the floor that you wouidl swear the pushbroom was glued to the floor. One day the manager asked him, "Good God, Leo! Can't you go any faster?"

"Pay me more and I'll go faster."

"You've got it backwards. First go faster and then we pay you more.'

One of the smartest things I've ever heard anyone say.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 10 months ago

I just thought I'd add one thing we missed, namely that once that customer made a comment she placed that comment in the public eye. If she didn't want anyone to hear her opinion, why did she make it? And if she really feels that way, what complaint does she have when people know it?

And the thought that clinches the argument. What if all the comments on Facebook and wherever had been POSITIVE comments? Would she then have complained?


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