Local seafood restaurant shames woman for allegedly not paying her bill

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.

From KOCO:

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.

Here’s more:

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.

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29 Responses

  1. Who leaves a tip of $5 for a $100.00 dinner? Maybe someone who received crappy service? Maybe someone who tried to get the servers attention but was ignored? I never stiff a server because of food quality or taste. The server delivers it, does not make it. It’s like trying to blame the USPS because your online purchase doesn’t work. But there are servers who would rather chit chat with friends, talk on the phone, text etc than do their job.

    Not being there, I can’t justify or explain anyone’s actions. What I DO know is the restaurant posted allegations. Public allegations. For what may very well be a mistake, theft by the server, or stiffing by the customer. What is NOT in doubt is the posting of the allegations along with a picture. As a person who eats out often, as a person who has had bad food served, as a person who has suffered incompetent service, I am not willing to risk my reputation at a restaurant that is known for making judgement calls like this.

    I typically tip 20%-30% for decent service. I never tip less than 15% for bad service……..the server has to pay taxes on tips they don’t get. I try to tip in cash so they can keep more of the money they earn. (IRS requires a server be taxed on 8% of gross receipts.) So even at 15% they get 7% tax free if they chose.

    But I refuse to go to a restaurant that has proven itself to be vindictive. There are too many restaurants out there that provide good food, at a fair price, with competent servers that actually earn their money.

  2. You used the ‘F’ word a couple of times…You must be cool

    1. If that’s all you have to complain about, you need a hobby.

      1. It might be the weed, but I spent a lot of time trying to find the F Bomb in Gregory L Goodpasture’s comment. I finally gave up. Later, I realized Mike’s comment was for the author, Lucas.

        I feel like I could play Jeopardy! right now.

  3. Dinner for three (one adult & 2 kids) in that place was $95? What did she order, one of those creepy roasted whole hogs like they have in Golden Phoenix? SMH.

    I am with the restaurant in this case. Gurl fren walked that ticket and got caught.

    This happened in an episode of “The Office,” when Michael (and earlier Creed) had his pic posted for not paying his tab.

    1. No kidding What did they order that resulted in a $95 bill? I can take me & my 4 kids & 7 grandkids out for about the same amount!

  4. I feel like the comment section is going to turn into a pissing match over how much the server was tipped.

  5. How do we know she didn’t leave the rest of the tip on the table?
    I agree that I will not be patronizing this restaurant as I would not appreciate being shamed for something I didn’t do. Plastering her picture on Facebook was wrong.

  6. Does the picture of the restaurant match or is that a file photo? If that’s the actual restaurant, then how can you go in that place and rack up a $100 bill for 3 people? That’s an average of over $30 per person…..at that place?

    What am I missing? That pic gives the appearance of a place that has a $ 6.99 catfish special. $100??? smh

    1. Same. They posted a pic of the tab, along with her photo on Facebook, but I’d like to know how one adult and two children ran up a $95 bill.

      I just watched the link to the KOCO story. Helps a little.

    2. It shows the receipt on the KOCO video. She ordered two meals that were $25 each, another that was $35 and a drink. She may have stifled them on a tip but I believe her after looking at those prices and video showing she handed money to the server. A place I’ll never visit that’s for sure.

    3. Sooooo y’all do know that crabs cost between $22-25 a pound.. Sausages, potatoes and corn is separate so that’s more money. since it was a family I’m going to say they could have gotten a family size that comes with shrimp, crabs and many more… so racking up $95 at a seafood is not hard… plus drinks… use your head 🤦🏾‍♀️

  7. Louis made this place seem pretty good, she must have wanted to sample a bit of everything.

    Looking at their website, their menu is a weird mix of Chinese and boiled seafood.

  8. I don’t believe her.

  9. Who eats seafood in OKC?

  10. “Who just hands $100 to a server at a seafood restaurant instead of waiting for the cashier?”

    The patron of a restaurant where the server IS the cashier. That’s who.

    The server was on the job for only three days? Hmmmm.

    I’m giving the patron the benefit of the doubt here. But she’s still an asshole for leaving such a crappy tip. Perhaps that’s what motivated the server to pocket the Benjamin and claim that the patron didn’t pay – that he/she was getting a $5 tip on a $95 tab.

  11. Nowhere was it mentioned what she paid in tip. But she gave them the extra $5 in addition, if I’m guessing.

    I’ll never eat there.

    1. She said she handed him a $100 bill and told him to “keep the change”

  12. Why’d she have to bring the “manger” into this?

  13. Does anyone remember the Kettle restaurant? They had a late night breakfast buffet. Went there once late and it was empty . There seemed to be no one working there so I grabbed a plate and filled up, found some silverware and ate, thinking some one would show up eventually.

    After about 20 minutes I tried to find somebody to pay. Still no one. I became concerned that this might be some sort of a creepy crime scene of a robbery gone bad or whatever, I actually walked through the kitchen and every room that wasn’t locked. Nobody.

    So I left. Was I wrong?

    1. Nah, you made every reasonable effort and more to find someone and pay. The employees obviously abandoned the restaurant.

  14. If you look her name up on http://www.oscn.net just for funsies, you’ll see that she has almost two dozen cases against her for not paying. No less than half of them are evictions for not paying rent, a bogus check or two she was able to get dismissed by paying up real quick, unpaid hospital bills, not getting a license plate for her vehicle, etc. I’m just going to take an educated guess here… She probably didn’t pay. *shrug* I could be wrong.

    1. Nice work Fun Size. Doing what KOCO should have done before running the story.

      1. Maybe the restaurant did the same before deciding to make the post.

  15. As someone in the service industry, and big on tipping you should never shame someone for leaving a tip. $5.40 is better than no tip! You dont know their situation, and they could have received trash ass service, I mean he did steal from her and the establishment so how much stock would you put in this guy. Good article except for you attempting to shame the patron, that’s trash.

  16. Hold on….lol So I am going to walk out on a $95 ticket, BUT GIVE THE SERVER 3 DOLLAR BILLS! If I am walking out, which I never would, I don’t think that would be smart. The tip part….Well I would tell you to keep the change on the $100 and I give you more. But once you say I only gave you 3 dollars, that other money is null and void. Maybe that seems too logical.

  17. A muhfucka ain’t gotta tip at all remember that..

    1. Read the next comment.

  18. I go to this restaurant a lot, and I can tell you from personal experience their service is terrible. I waited at the register for 30 minutes just to pay and get my Togo food, with 3 servers sitting there looking at me and doing everything else but helping me they didn’t even say “ hello we will be right with you” or anything and while I waited I watched a table of 6-8 ppl sit there the entire time I was waiting, waiting on their server. As well as when I have dined it the servers are not attentive.

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