We can go back and forth about whether or not internet outrage and shaming culture is a good thing. Personally, I think it does more good than bad, because if you’re not doing creepy/illegal/assholish things, there’s not much to worry about.
But sometimes there’s a situation where someone didn’t do anything wrong and catches the wrath of hundreds or thousands of people who aren’t connected to the situation. This recent incident falls into that, “Who fuckin’ knows?” grey area.
A mother of two says she was publicly shamed when a metro-area restaurant posted a picture of her face and her receipt on Facebook, claiming she didn’t pay her bill.
Tiara Lee said she woke up Sunday morning to find the post by a seafood restaurant near Northwest 34th Street and Classen Boulevard.
“My heart dropped,” Lee said.
Lee told KOCO 5 that, because no one was at the register, she paid $100 to her server after having dinner with her two children.
“It was a $100 bill. I told him to keep the change because it would be $5.40. ‘Just keep the change,'” Lee said.
Who just hands $100 to a server at a seafood restaurant instead of waiting for the cashier?? Probably the type of person who thinks it’s cool to tip $5.40 on a $95 tab.
The server, who was on the job for just three days, told KOCO 5 that Lee only gave him $3, not $100, and he said he showed the money to another employee.
“I didn’t see any cash on the table,” said the server, who didn’t want to be identified. “I saw the ticket in her hand. I told her she can pay in the front.”
Lee went back to the restaurant twice to confront the manger. On one of those trips, police went along.
Police said cameras at the restaurant show that Lee gave the server money, but the amount is unclear.
“The only thing that lady gave me was three single dollar bills, and I pulled it out in front of the other lady,” the server said.
KOCO contacted the restaurant’s management to ask to see the video of the transaction and for comment, but they were not available.
“Put me out there as a horrible person, and I’m none of that,” Lee said.
There’s a lot of unsubstantiated information here. The server could have just pocketed the money and pretended like he got stiffed so he could walk out with a hundo. The guest could have actually stiffed the restaurant. The restaurant could have acted like they didn’t get paid.
I don’t know why a restaurant would risk their reputation and post a potentially volatile Facebook post (that has since been deleted) calling out a specific person for walking their tab. It happens all the time, and you just make a note to remember that person when they come back again so you can act appropriately. If Seafood Party manufactured this outrage, it would be very shameful on their behalf.
If the server made all this up to make a quick Benjamin, they’re a fucking asshole and deserve to be fired, and shouldn’t be trusted in the service industry.
All this said, I’m giving the patron the benefit of the doubt and assuming that she paid. But she tipped $5.40 on a nearly $100 restaurant bill. That is about a 5% tip, which is insulting to service staff. I don’t care how bad the service was, that amount is really almost worse than just not leaving a tip. If you don’t value restaurant staff enough to leave them appropriate gratuity, cook that shrimp yourself at home.