Skip to comments.Waitress Who Posted No-Tip Receipt From “Pastor” Customer Fired From Job
Posted on 01/31/2013 1:23:42 PM PST by Responsibility2nd
Earlier this week, we posted a story about a restaurant customer who not only chose to deny the waitress a tip, but also wrote “I Give God 10% Why do you Get 18?” on the receipt. Now we’ve learned that the server who posted the receipt online has been fired.
“I originally posted the note as a lighthearted joke,” says Chelsea, who was dismissed from her job at Applebee’s on Wednesday, as the story began to spread across the Internet. “I thought the note was insulting, but it was also comical. I posted it to Reddit because I thought other users would find it entertaining.”
Chelsea tells Consumerist that the receipt was actually not even for her table. Rather, the server on the receiving end of the note showed it to Chelsea, who snapped a photo of it later that night.
As posted originally on Reddit’s Atheist page, the image contained the customer’s full signature. Chelsea says she didn’t think to edit that out because she had assumed the name was illegible.
But the Internet is a remarkably curious place, so sleuths began trying to identify the self-described “pastor” on the receipt.
“All throughout the comment thread on the Reddit post, I withheld any identifying information,” Chelsea explains, adding that she provided an inaccurate physical description of the customer just to throw people off.
She eventually replaced the image with a version that did not contain the signature, but by that point, people were posting their guesses as to the customer’s identity.
“I had already started receiving messages containing Facebook profile links and blogs and websites, asking me to confirm the identity of the customer,” she says. “I refused to confirm any of them, and all of them were incorrect. I worked with the website moderators to remove any personal information. I wanted to protect the identity of both my fellow server and the customer. I had no intention of starting a witch hunt or hurting anyone — I just wanted to share a picture I found interesting.”
Her post immediately became popular on Reddit, and then multiple national news sources began picking up Consumerist’s write-up of the story.
Some time on Wednesday, Chelsea says the customer who had left the receipt contacted her Applebee’s location, demanding that everyone be fired, from the servers involved to the managers.
According to Chelsea, until the receipt story got out there, her time at Applebee’s had been without incident.
“I had been well-liked and respected,” she explains. “My sales were high, my managers had no problems with me, and I was even hoping to move up to management sometime this year.
“When I posted this, I didn’t represent Applebee’s in a bad light,” she continues. “In fact, I didn’t represent them at all. I did my best to protect the identity of all parties involved. I didn’t break any specific guidelines in the company handbook — I checked.
“But because this person got embarrassed that their selfishness was made public, Applebee’s has made it clear that they would rather lose a dedicated employee than lose an angry customer. That’s a policy I can’t understand.”
For someone who makes their living off of tips, it seems like the customer’s note was salt in the wound for Chelsea.
“We make $3.50 an hour. Most of my paychecks are less than pocket change because I have to pay taxes on the tips I make,” she explains. “After sharing my tips with hosts, bussers, and bartenders, I make less than $9/hr on average, before taxes.
In her job, Chelsea says she skipped bathroom breaks when things got busy, went hungry when she had to work several tables at a time, would work until 1:30 a.m. and then come back in at 10:30 a.m.
“I am expected to portray a canned personality that has been found to be least offensive to the greatest amount of people,” she tells Consumerist. “I come home exhausted, sore, burnt, dirty, and blistered on a good day. And after all that, I can be fired for ‘embarrassing’ someone who directly insults their server on religious grounds.”
Chelsea agrees with those who argue in favor of a payment system that doesn’t make restaurant servers reliant on tips.
“But the system being flawed is not an excuse for not paying for services rendered,” she adds. “I posted a picture to make people laugh — but now I want to make a serious point. Things like this happen to servers all the time. I’ve had worse tips just in the last month. People seem to think that the easiest way to save money on a night out is to skip the tip. But when you don’t tip a good server, that means that server might move on to a better job. And a worse server might take their place. When you tip a good server well, you are ensuring good service.”
As for the customer’s claim that they “give God 10%,” Chelsea says she’s “utterly baffled” at why someone would try to make a connection between tithing to one’s church and tipping at a restaurant.
“I’ve been stiffed on tips before,” she says, “but this is the first time I’ve seen the Big Man has been used as reasoning.”
“I can understand why someone could be upset with an automatic gratuity,” she admits. The customer’s bill had included an automatic tip of 18% because, according to Chelsea, it had been part of a table of 20. “It’s a plainly stated Applebee’s policy, and it is company policy for parties over eight. I cannot control the auto-gratuity at all; it’s done by the computer that the orders are put into, and the gratuity is not determined by the bill, but by the size of the party.”
Chelsea says that the customer told her manager that their reputation had been ruined by having the receipt posted on Reddit.
“If this person wrote the note, obviously they wanted it seen by someone,” she points out. “It’s strange to me that now that the audience is wider than just the server, the person is now ashamed.”
Even though she’s now without a job, Chelsea claims she has no agenda, nor does she have any interest in exposing the customer’s identity to the public.
“I was just trying to make a joke, but I came home today unemployed.”
So, for now it’s back to the job market to look for a new gig. Chelsea says she’s been waiting tables to save money so she could pay for college.
“In the meantime, hopefully I can find a job that pays more than $3.50/hr,” she tells Consumerist, “Or where people are willing to tip well.”
We are reaching out to Applebee’s for comment and will update if we receive a reply.
UPDATE: The folks at The Smoking Gun have interviewed the pastor who left the receipt.
“My heart is really broken,” she tells the site. “I’ve brought embarrassment to my church and ministry.”
The pastor claims that though she scratched out the automatic gratuity on the bill, she left a $6 cash tip at the table. She also alleges that the restaurant charged her the 18% tip anyway.
In response, Chelsea tells Consumerist:
“Whether or not she left a tip, the note was still offensive. It wasn’t my table, it wasn’t my tip. I’m not sure who ended up with what money at the end of the night. But you can’t really argue with what’s plainly written, and what was written was insulting. Insulted or not, I’ve lost my job over this mess, and that’s what I’m concerned with now. The six dollars one way or another wouldn’t really affect that situation.”
UPDATE PART TWO: Applebee’s provided the following statement on the matter —
Our Guests’ personal information – including their meal check – is private, and neither Applebee’s nor its franchisees have a right to share this information publicly. We value our Guests’ trust above all else. Our franchisee has apologized to the Guest and has taken disciplinary action with the Team Member for violating their Guest’s right to privacy. This individual is no longer employed by the franchisee.
OK, on/in .. the 5DM would be the ‘gratuity’ beyond the tip built into the bill. It’s just a different way of doing things there than it is here.
The US also has professional waiters, generally found only in the more expensive restaurants that hire only really well trained, experienced waiters, and they are quite respected. Never served myself but one son has on and off over the years. Waiters work their way up to the white table cloth (expensive) restaurants after years in the chains and/or smaller restaurants. The money they make is pretty respectable.
Yeah, I hear ya. Many of the bars in Idaho are cash only.
Maybe. But not all atheists are angry about the “God thing”. Some are merely indifferent to that, but still despise fake Christians.
Perhaps the service was bad, although the pastor contradicts such an assumption when questioned, indicating that she left cash on the table. Regardless, the note on the receipt was intended as a smart assed rude comment, and it should not have been written, especially by a pastor. If you don't like the service, don't go back or speak to the manager. This pastor, through the very act of writing on the receipt, intended for someone to see it. What a witch!
I agree the employee should have been disciplined, but probably not terminated. There is no privacy protection for the number of calories someone chooses to shovel down their throat. Unless the company policy specifically forbade such an act, I would have documented it and provided a written warning. Termination must give the witchy pastor some satisfaction - way to go! You're a heck of a role model, pastor, you pig!
Selfishness??? This is the customer you retard.
Maybe because God doesn'tt have to live on lousy tips and pay taxes to the IRS. waitress God gives batip
waitressing is not an easy Job.
That said, I reserve the right to reward good service from good waitresses. That said I reserve the right to reward good service from good waitresses
I like Idaho. :-)
Is the Egyptian Theater still there in Boise? I saw Scarface in that theater when it first released.
Heh, and doesn’t that make me old. LOL
Yeah, I hate it when they put on auto gratuities.
I usually tell the waiter/waitress.
“You *only* want 18 percent? Ok.”
Then they all look aghast.
It reflects poorly upon her employer, so the employer was well within his rights to fire her a$$. Therefore, the publicity statement from Applebee's is just fine with me. She should be fired, for cause, so no unemployment for her either.
How would Applebee's have handled this if the races were reverse? Would they have fired a black waitress if a white customer made a complaint? Particularly when the waitress had an excellent record up to that point?
This has all kinds of fail. Reddit is 95% liberal and female pastors are unscriptural.
Actually there is more to it than that. That group, or within that subculture,usually the ghettoized lower class ones, as another commenter posted they will play games with the waiter/bartender and its a game for them all.
They’ll ask for the ketchup, you get the ketchup, then immediately they want the A1 sauce, you get that, then they want a toothpick or ‘whatever they can think of that you have’. They will run you! and you are running back and forth from their table. Frequently as part of the game,at the end of the night at or near payment time, they will complain also about something, their food or drink. And guaranteed these people will leave Zero tip. And its all their game on you!
It is kinda funny that the pastorette had a Mennonite guy's name. Alois (related to French Louis, Spanish Lius, Italian Luigu, Russian Lyudovick) is an unusual American name even for blokes, how come a chick ends up with it?
Or, just possibly, her mama couldn't spell Alice. (or thought that was the guy spelling)
Wrong, citizen. It is not the fault of the fool; it is the pen in her hand that caused this uproar. Pens should be confiscated and destroyed by the government.
Back in the 1980’s with the tax simplification laws the idea was to lower rates and expand the base.
Tipped employees were notorious at not reporting and businesses didn’t usually make them. Before the law change it was common, especially in big cities, for the IRS to send out agents as customers who’d tip big and them show up at payroll time to see if they reported it.
They also looked into the lifestyle of the employee. A bartender, for example, reporting so much income but driving a new Corvette would be targeted.
After the laws changed the government started the 8% rule as a minimum. If the tipped employee (minimum wage for them back then was about $1.35 and even today it’s $2.35 or $2.50...any more is the decision of the employer) doesn’t report at least 8% they are taxed upwards as if they were.
This all became moot with the increased use of credit cards and charge tips. Most tips now are charged on the cards. Employers can wait to put those on their paychecks which is taxed or pay it out nightly in cash from the register. But they then have to report that also because there is a trail of the employee getting the tip.
Tipped employees in my day lived daily on the cash and the change to paying them weekly or bi-weekly took time.
Also, if they don’t report all of their tips their earnings are reflected with Social Security so they would get less from that when they retire.
I dunno. It was the waitress’s hard luck the name was unique, though. Things remained in the cute joke phase until the “Pastor” was identified, then it became a demand to fire everybody on the premises. The Manager did the only prudent thing a Manager in this situation could do: Limit the damage by cutting the waitress loose.
And the waitress retaliated by going to sympathetic press. If she is a regular poster at Reddit, then she was probably put in contact with the reporter, and now we witness the story we see at the top of the thread.
Working in the service business for 40 years I can attest to the fact that 98% of people are nice. But those 2% of nasty cheap a-holes are the ones you remember.
Excellent advice. I first heard this from my dad in the 60’s.
Think twice before you become a smart ass. Think twice before you put anything on paper. And for Gods sake, keep your privates away from the cameras! Good advice for the ages.
this one for sure:
Think twice before you put anything on paper.
So the man left no tip?
Bad form, if so.
However I feel the laws should be changed regarding the wait staff and they should be paid minimum wage. At least if they had a salary it could cut a lot of this crap.
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