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Man Arrested After Leaving Small Tip at Soprano's

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Man Arrested After Leaving Small Tip at Soprano's

Old 09-13-04, 12:10 PM
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Man Arrested After Leaving Small Tip at Soprano's

http://www.nbc4.tv/money/3725161/det...109132004&ts=H

POSTED: 8:56 am EDT September 13, 2004

LAKE GEORGE, N.Y -- A New York City man accused of leaving an inadequate tip at a restaurant was arrested, fingerprinted and photographed for a mug shot.

Humberto A. Taveras, 41, faces a misdemeanor charge of theft of services after he and his fellow diners argued with Soprano's Italian and American Grill managers over the legality of requiring an 18 percent tip for large parties.

"They chased us down like a bunch of criminals," Taveras said. "It killed our weekend."

Taveras and eight others had pizza at the restaurant in this resort village Sunday night. He told the Glens Falls Post-Star they weren't completely satisfied with the food and left a tip of under 10 percent. Taveras said they also were not told of a mandatory 18 percent gratuity for parties of six or more and did not see notice of it on their menus.

Restaurant owner Joe Soprano said all the menus have the notice, and the waitress informed the group. He said he did not choose to pursue charges because of the money, but because Taveras' group was obnoxious.

"It's unfortunate it has come to this, but this guy was rude and abrasive. They practically threw food at us," Soprano said.

Taveras plans to fight the charge. He was issued an appearance ticket and was scheduled to appear in town court Thursday.

The arrest raises the issue of whether the gratuities that restaurants automatically tack on for serving large groups are legally enforceable debts.

Warren County Sheriff Larry Cleveland said he did not believe the issue had been litigated before in New York. He said the case could turn on whether the person is notified of the tip requirement beforehand.

"It's not a black-and-white issue," Cleveland said. "It will be very interesting to see where it goes in court."




Chris
Old 09-13-04, 12:15 PM
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It will be interesting to see if a gratuity is mandatory when it is printed policy. I think it is crap, personally.

Throw them out or bar them, but to demand a bigger tip? Silly.
Old 09-13-04, 12:17 PM
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Mandatory 18% tip on parties over six? Remind me never to go there...

- David Stein
Old 09-13-04, 12:18 PM
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Weird that they would stiff the server for bad food. The server didn't make the food (as far as I know.)
Old 09-13-04, 12:19 PM
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Wow....that's bizarre.

Wherever I've seen that 'large groups, tip will be added in'
also has a phrase, 'Please see the manager if your service was not up to par' or something.

I think mandatory gratuities for large parties are not and should not be enforceable. How is that different from making any tip mandatory? A large party fee, disclosed openly up front that is not negotiable, may be.

I do take issue with this:
"they weren't completely satisfied with the food"
Hmm, I don't think the server had anything to do with cooking the food. If it wasn't up to par, they should have told the server. I never blame the server for my food not being tasty. I do blame them for getting my order wrong, or not getting it fixed if I ask them to.
Old 09-13-04, 12:20 PM
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Re: Man Arrested After Leaving Small Tip at Soprano's

Originally posted by mrpayroll
He told the Glens Falls Post-Star they weren't completely satisfied with the food and left a tip of under 10 percent.
Yes, take it out on the server when they didn't like their food.
Old 09-13-04, 12:21 PM
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He said the case could turn on whether the person is notified of the tip requirement beforehand.

---

Actually, that probably IS the crux point - if informed, you're basically being told the price of the food is 1.18 of what it says it is. If not informed, it would be a "tip".
Old 09-13-04, 12:22 PM
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Re: Re: Man Arrested After Leaving Small Tip at Soprano's

Originally posted by schlitz100
Yes, take it out on the server when they didn't like their food.
Well, what other power does a consumer have?

When the food is crap, I generally don't tip, or not well. It may not be their fault, but it sure as hell isn't mine.
Old 09-13-04, 12:23 PM
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If I'm dissatisfied with service, I don't tip. If it comes down to a manager having to remove a "mandatory tip", so be it. When possible, I don't pay money to people who don't deserve it. I have enough REAL monetary responsibilities.

A "Mr. Pink view", though not as strong. Sorta like a "Mr. Lilac" view.
Old 09-13-04, 12:29 PM
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Tips are not mandatory. If the service sucks ass, if the food isnt very good, if the waiter isnt attentive, if the wrong food goes to the wrong table, if the service sucks - you get NOTHING. Quite simply, you have to earn your money.

The flip side of the coin is - if the service is good, if it's great food, if the wait staff anticipates my needs, if they waiter cracks jokes and is personable - then you get 20 or 22 percent from me.

Mandatory tipping is bullshit. Let me decide how much you are worth.
Old 09-13-04, 12:33 PM
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yet there are people out in the world killing each other, yet the cops arrest a non tipper, WEAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Old 09-13-04, 12:45 PM
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Tip threads always turn ugly, but the fact is if you don't like the food you shouldn't take it out on the server. Complain about the quality of the food but it's not the server's fault. Tip on the server's performance. If you feel like yourother financial obligations are too heavy to tip a server who did nothing wrong then you should eat at home or at places where tipping is not expected like McDonald's.
Old 09-13-04, 12:59 PM
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If you go into a place with 8 people, you should expect a mandatory tip on the bill. That's pretty standard practice. 18% seems a bit high, I grant you.

If it's on the bill, and you don't pay it, then unless the bill is actually wrong in some way, then yeah, you should be arrested. There's a social contract in effect at restaurants, and paying only part of the bill is basically equivalent to the "dine and dash" routine.

It's either that or charge them upfront. I think we all don't want that.

Side note: This guy will never be able to go into any restaurant in that town again.
Old 09-13-04, 01:04 PM
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Originally posted by Otto
social contract
That's the key word. It's not a law. Tipping is in addition to paying for the meal, but is not required. If they were not informed they would have to pay the 18% upfront, they have a legitimate beef.
Old 09-13-04, 01:07 PM
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Seriously......

I had the experience in the ESPN ZONE when it was like 8 of us and we had extremely bad service.

I told the manager.... listen... i am sorry but i will not pay that gratuity charge because their waiter was moving like molasses and was rude.

He gave us free food
Old 09-13-04, 01:08 PM
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I really think everyone should emulate that SNL skit from years back where the customer would put a dollar/bill on the table for every good thing about the service and meal and take a dollar/bill for every bad thing. It was pretty damn funny.
Old 09-13-04, 01:10 PM
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Originally posted by Deftones, Esq
That's the key word. It's not a law. Tipping is in addition to paying for the meal, but is not required. If they were not informed they would have to pay the 18% upfront, they have a legitimate beef.
Well, that's just the thing though. A lot of nicer restaurants don't even put prices on the menu. Does that make the food free?

If you eat the food, you have agreed to pay the bill. Simple as that, really. If you want to try to argue the bill down, then you're free to do so, but in the end you have to pay the bill.

Now, if the gratuity was not on the bill itself, then it's not enforcable, I agree.
Old 09-13-04, 01:13 PM
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Originally posted by Otto
Well, that's just the thing though. A lot of nicer restaurants don't even put prices on the menu. Does that make the food free?

If you eat the food, you have agreed to pay the bill. Simple as that, really. If you want to try to argue the bill down, then you're free to do so, but in the end you have to pay the bill.

Now, if the gratuity was not on the bill itself, then it's not enforcable, I agree.
which ones are those? In the last month I've been to a few places where the bill came out to be $80-$100 per person before tip. Only one did not have a price of one menu item where they were changing suppliers for it.
Old 09-13-04, 01:18 PM
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If my drink ever sits empty, you dont get a tip, no matter what.
Old 09-13-04, 01:20 PM
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Originally posted by al_bundy
which ones are those? In the last month I've been to a few places where the bill came out to be $80-$100 per person before tip. Only one did not have a price of one menu item where they were changing suppliers for it.
I actually can't think of a specific place offhand, so let me try a different example that I can think of.

A lot of seafood places will have "market price" on the menu for various items. If you order this item, don't ask the price, and they don't volunteer the information, then when the bill comes, are you obligated to pay the price of that item?
Old 09-13-04, 01:24 PM
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Originally posted by Otto
Well, that's just the thing though. A lot of nicer restaurants don't even put prices on the menu. Does that make the food free?

If you eat the food, you have agreed to pay the bill. Simple as that, really. If you want to try to argue the bill down, then you're free to do so, but in the end you have to pay the bill.

Now, if the gratuity was not on the bill itself, then it's not enforcable, I agree.
But you aren't eating the tip. You are eating the food. They paid for the food. The tip is a kind gesture to show that you enjoyed your service. It is not mandatory. I still maintain that if they were not told about the tip upfront, they will win.
Old 09-13-04, 01:25 PM
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Originally posted by Otto
I actually can't think of a specific place offhand, so let me try a different example that I can think of.

A lot of seafood places will have "market price" on the menu for various items. If you order this item, don't ask the price, and they don't volunteer the information, then when the bill comes, are you obligated to pay the price of that item?
But you are ordering food. I'm not ordering a tip. Food is tangible.
Old 09-13-04, 01:27 PM
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exactly. a few weeks ago i ordered an item off the menu and it came to be a steak for $99. The service was exceptional in the restaraunt and i left a nice tip. otherwise i would have left a small or no tip.
Old 09-13-04, 01:31 PM
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I thought almost all restaurants had this rule for groups over 6 or 8?

Interesting dynamic of larger groups and how often people come up short on paying the bill.
Old 09-13-04, 01:32 PM
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Originally posted by Deftones, Esq
But you aren't eating the tip. You are eating the food. They paid for the food. The tip is a kind gesture to show that you enjoyed your service. It is not mandatory. I still maintain that if they were not told about the tip upfront, they will win.
If it's on the menu, they will lose. I've never seen a place have a mandatory tip that wasn't listed on the menu.

And the point I was making was that whether you know the price or not is irrelevant. You accepted the food, you accepted the service. You have to pay the price of those items regardless of whether you knew the price in advance or not.

Being a bitch about it and not paying your bill is childish. Don't like it? Then don't eat there again. Take it like a man.

Originally posted by Deftones, Esq
But you are ordering food. I'm not ordering a tip. Food is tangible.
So is service.

Arguing that it's a "gratuity" and therefore optional is radiculos. If they charge a manditory gratuity, then it's not optional. That's what the word "manditory" means. I agree that it's an abuse of the word "gratuity", however it's commonplace in restaurants and therefore you would be expected to know about it.

Last edited by Otto; 09-13-04 at 01:35 PM.

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