Running Out on Red Lobster

Letter to the Editor of Kane County Chronicle

My husband Tom and I, with our daughter, went out this past Friday night to a well deserved seafood feast at the Geneva Red Lobster. Waiting for our table in this bustling restaurant, a young server hurried down the sidewalk with great concern written upon her face. Low and behold, when we were seated, the same girl that scurried past us was now our server. Because Tom and I are curious as a bunch of cats, we asked what was up.

Well it appears that the customers seated before us had run off without paying their check. Now before a snap judgment is made that this was only a sad teenage prank, the thieves were a well dressed woman in her early forties enjoying an expensive shrimp dinner with her daughter in her late teens to early twenties. Shocked? Yep, Susie we have well-heeled criminals here in our own little hamlet of wealth.

You know what disgusts me the most? Not that they ran off without paying, which is a crime in itself, but that they left a tip. A tip for the server that they ultimately punished. According to the policies of Red Lobster, the server is responsible for the table whether the customers pays or not. She or He is given the choice of compensating for the table or taking a write-up on their record. Too many write-ups for this type of infraction, then they are let go.

So Miss Fancy Pants in your mind, you thought you “stuck” it to the corporation. But instead, now a server has black mark on her record. She also will be taxed on the total amount of your bill and believe me, the IRS does not care that that bill was not paid. They will tax her nonetheless. That young girl will now ultimately be financing your criminal activities. Good Going!!

I called Red Lobster the following morning and talked to the manager in charge to plead the case of our lovely and very competent server. I wanted to get the facts straight; that they were not going to put her in server jail. Melanie, the manager in charge, explained to me that every situation is taken into consideration and Red Lobster would not make our server fork over some cash but would need to record this incident. Yes, like it or not, there are many servers out there that let their friends get away with not paying. It is fact of life that this happens, which is why this policy is in place.

In the case of our server, she did not let this horrible event affect our dining experience. She was gracious, skilled and we had a great time. But she did take this event personally. She went on the rest of the night knowing that someone had not only stolen from the corporation she worked for, but from her personally.

So to the woman and her daughter that sped away from Red Lobster, I hope that that ill gotten meal makes you sick. I hope that it sits in the pit of your stomach and wakes you up to the fact that at tax time this sweet server now is paying for your crime.

Do the right thing, send a anonymous money order covering your bill. Don’t teach your daughter that this is just a fun Friday night game. Have some morals lady! But if you don’t pay up and you like the life of a skanky criminal, realize that there is a elegant, moral and honest server out there that is more cultivated and worthy of praise than you ever could be.

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One Response

  1. Update on the Lobster debacle is that the newspaper thought my Letter to the Editor was too “vitriolic “. Hmmm… Vitriolic??? Was I too harsh or corrosive in tone? I am too prone to blistering criticism? This 10 dollar college word is coming from a 25 yr old editor. Of course I penned a barrage of blistering criticism. The person that ran out on their bill deserved a helluva lot more then just vitriolic. She deserved Community Service washing dishes for 2 weeks at the Lobster! Aunt Bea of AnyWhere USA I ain’t.

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