What really happens if you can't pay for a meal?

Hummer

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 3, 2006
1,012
0
Queens, New York NY-5
I was wondering if anyone knows what really happens if you can't pay for a meal at a restaurant.

I've seen all these shows where they have the people work off their meal and stuff in the kitchen, but I seriously doubt that happens in really life.

So yea what happens? Has anyone had the experience? Anyone work at a restaurant?
 

topgunn

macrumors 65816
Nov 5, 2004
1,459
1,264
Houston
Well, the credit card was invented when a man didn't have the money to pay for his meal. He had to have his wife come with money to pay the bill. He was so mortified that he decided that it would never happen again. So, carry a credit card and it won't happen to you either.
 

WildCowboy

Administrator/Editor
Staff member
Jan 20, 2005
17,215
1,112
It really depends on the restaurant. Some will trust your honesty and let you come back later and pay the bill. Some will point you to the nearest ATM. Some will allow you to put up some collateral like a credit card that they don't actually accept or driver's license (unless you need to drive home)...basically just something that you don't want to lose in order to encourage you to come back and pay the bill.
 

Applespider

macrumors G4
Guess it depends on the restaurant and your attitude.

It has happened to me once. I'd gone out with a friend for dinner (booked in advance) and we'd had a drinks, a couple of courses with wine and then dessert cocktails. The bill came around 11pm and I realised that I'd left my purse with my cards in it. My pal had brought £50 in cash with her but left her cards at home since she only had a small bag with her. Bill arrives and it's £85 or so. Cue red faces and muttering about what to do... we were about 45 minutes from respective homes.

Restaurant did offer to let us pay what we had and then call up the next morning with card details. But my friend somewhat remarkably could remember her Visa number so they allowed her to key it into their terminal and we paid that way...
 

Loge

macrumors 68030
Jun 24, 2004
2,680
1,147
England
Once in a place that didn't take credit cards despite being quite expensive. They said we could just post them a cheque in the mail, but I preferred to go to a cash point and pop back later on.
 
L

Lau

Guest
Applespider said:
But my friend somewhat remarkably could remember her Visa number so they allowed her to key it into their terminal and we paid that way...
Heh, I learnt my Visa number, expiry date and security code off by heart because I was so irritated by having to get up and find my wallet if I was buying something online. I'll remember that if I ever get stuck. :p

I walked out of a pub we quite often went to for lunch when I was at art college, and it wasn't until halfway through the afternoon's painting that we all realised. :eek: We went back straight after all grovelly, and the landlady laughed and said she knew we'd be back cause we had honest faces and she knew we couldn't avoid the pub opposite college anyway. :D
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,911
2,480
St. Louis, MO
2nyRiggz said:
What happens?....you go to jail...do not pass go or collect $200. Always take your credit card..washing dishes is not an option.:)


Bless
But what if the credit card is declined?
 

SMM

macrumors 65816
Sep 22, 2006
1,334
0
Tiger Mountain - WA State
I actually walked out of a restaurant once and forgot to pay. It was a long, enjoyable dining evening, with drinks, wine, the meal, more wine, desert and a fine cognac stirrup cup. My date and I just got up and casually walked out, forgetting to pay. Usually your waiter will bring the bill with the final drink, but neglected to do so. The tables were arranged such that each one was privately separated. It was not until we were nearly home that I remembered we did not pay. I called the restaurant and sheepishly explained my error. They thanked me for calling and suggested I come by in the next few days and settle the amount, which I did with a very generous gratuity.
 

Doctor Q

Administrator
Staff member
Sep 19, 2002
37,291
3,378
Los Angeles
I'd rather not have other customers, who didn't pay or didn't want to pay, working in the kitchen while I'm dining there. It's probably not legal anyway. But it makes a great stereotype solution for cartoons and comedies, doesn't it?

I've never forgotten to pay (as far as I know!) or found myself without means to pay, but once I saw the man next to us at a pancake house finish his meal, get up, and then run out an emergency door. A restaurant employee dashed out after him and chased him down the block! But he got away.

Perhaps they had to raise the price of my Denver omelette to cover the lost income. And I have a strange feeling he not only didn't pay the bill, but he didn't leave a tip for the poor server either!
 

someguy

macrumors 68020
Dec 4, 2005
2,315
8
Still here.
Happened to me once, when I was too young to have a credit card. They just let us go (me and the girl I was seeing at that time).

Not much of a story, but hey, free meal. :)
 

Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
14,874
57
Well if it is a mob shop, they may take you out the back door and give you an expensive ride to the the hospital.
 

iGary

Guest
May 26, 2004
19,583
0
Randy's House
If it is an expensive restaurant, you'll likely have to give them an ID, lots of information and sign a promisory note (that's what we did at Carroll's Creek).

Whe I was a manager at Bob's Big Boy (go ahead, laugh), I let them go if they were nice about it and at least had SOME money to pay for it (and it wasn't a 50+ dollar check). I used to work graveyard and we had a security guy (plain clothes) sit in the restaurant drinking coffee all night nabbing the runners.
 

iGary

Guest
May 26, 2004
19,583
0
Randy's House
Doctor Q said:
Tee hee.

Were you the model for that statue?

Tee hee.
:eek:

Q!

I guess I thought it was pretty cool. I started as a dishwasher and worked my way up to manager by 20. I've done so many different things.

But no, not the model. :D
 

Doctor Q

Administrator
Staff member
Sep 19, 2002
37,291
3,378
Los Angeles
Leaving ID makes sense, to (sorta) guarantee that you'll return and that they know who you are, but do they ever ask you to leave personal possessions (a watch, jewelry, PDA, iPod, spouse, etc.)? I don't think restaurants would really want to have to be responsible for such things. Otherwise it would be Bob's Big Boy and Pawn Shop.
 

iGary

Guest
May 26, 2004
19,583
0
Randy's House
Doctor Q said:
Leaving ID makes sense, to (sorta) guarantee that you'll return and that they know who you are, but do they ever ask you to leave personal possessions (a watch, jewelry, PDA, iPod, spouse, etc.)? I don't think restaurants would really want to have to be responsible for such things. Otherwise it would be Bob's Big Boy and Pawn Shop.
I actually loved it when we would get a "Retain Card" message on the credit card screen.

$50 reward, but people were sometimes less than friendly about it.

"You can't have my card!!!"

"It's not yours, it belongs to the bank."

"Give it back!!"

Then I would say really loud:

"I'm sorry, sir, but the bank said to seize your card because you haven't been paying your bills."

Thay would usually slink off out of the restaurant and I'd get $50 a couple of weeks later. :D
 

skoker

macrumors 68000
Aug 6, 2005
1,839
0
iGary said:
I actually loved it when we would get a "Retain Card" message on the credit card screen.

$50 reward, but people were sometimes less than friendly about it.

"You can't have my card!!!"

"It's not yours, it belongs to the bank."

"Give it back!!"

Then I would say really loud:

"I'm sorry, sir, but the bank said to seize your card because you haven't been paying your bills."

Thay would usually slink off out of the restaurant and I'd get $50 a couple of weeks later. :D
LMAO! I actually didn't know such a thing existed until I was at the Apple Store and while I was paying for the exact iBook I'm sitting on now, that popped up. Luckily, the Genius cashing us out let us use the store phone to call the asshats at HSBC and turns out it was the person before us' card and the person using the register forgot to clear it out.


Oops.
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,389
114
Location Location Location
I have never forgotten to pay, but I have forgotten to leave a tip. :eek:


It wasn't even good service, but I was at a bar that my friend is the operational manager of, and so I thought I shouldn't act like a jerk. Thing is that I had just moved back to Canada (only to find myself deciding to move back to Oz after 3 months!) where they don't really tip, and I had just forgot. I was so used to paying my bill and leaving that I never even gave it a second thought until I was driving home.
 

pianoman

macrumors 68000
May 31, 2006
1,962
0
one of my friends asked the waitress at a nice restaurant ($25+ pp) in our area what would happen. she said that if it happened once, it usually is forgotten. if it keeps happening, they probably monitor that waitperson's tables more closely.
 

Cube54

macrumors regular
Sep 4, 2006
129
0
Canada
How To Eat For Free (But don't tell anyone Okay?)

Remember you can only do this twice in your area

1) Go to a *place* with your wife/husband (Sorry but no kids for this)
2) Order a nice meal for each of you 'two' with wine
3) During the after dinner coffee fake an argument

Hubby then walks out steaming but - bill free- with the wife in tears :) and no bill of course

Next time 'flip the roles' '

:D

Works everytime