I didn't want to believe this story when I first read it in The Consumerist. A restaurant server says he got stiffed by a church pastor, who wrote on the receipt: "I give God 10 percent. Why do you get 18?" The diner wrote "pastor" over his signature. To absolve his sin, perhaps?
The waitress who posted the receipt was not the waitress stiffed that night. She thought the comment on the receipt was funny and snapped a photo of it, which she posted on Reddit. She was later fired by her employer, a franchise restaurant in the Kansas City-based Applebee's chain.
The waitress thought the pastor's signature was illegible. It wasn't. The cheapskate was soon identified and called out. Let's just say he did not turn the other cheek.
"The customer who had left the receipt," reports The Consumerist, "contacted her Applebee's location, demanding that everyone be fired, from the servers involved to the managers." He had apparently forgotten Psalm 37:8: "Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil."
Local waiter, blogger and author David Hayden is concerned about the story. "I fear that this mentality is becoming more common among many groups," he says. "That a tip is considered a luxury.
"I wish diners would remember, before leaving a tip, that in Missouri, servers work for $3.63 an hour. In Kansas, the server's minimum wage is $2.13 an hour. Those low wages help keep other restaurant costs down. In a way, servers are subsidizing part of your meal."
Now, playing devil's advocate, I can understand why this minister might be miffed at an automatic gratuity of 18 percent on a $34.93 check. When tips become mandatory, someone's nose always gets out of joint. Still, it seems that the preacher was part of a bigger party at the restaurant - a table of 20 - and the venue's computer system had been programmed to add an automatic gratuity, whether the server wanted it on the ticket or not. According to The Consumerist, this automatic gratuity policy for large parties was stated on the menu.
Back in the early 1980s, I waited on the nicest family, a pastor and his wife and children. They told me, after paying their tab, how much they had enjoyed my service. But instead of leaving a tip, they slipped a little comic book under the receipt. One of the Chick Publications' religious tracts, this one called - I think - Fallen ("His mother loved him...but no one else did"). I was stunned, but later I had to admit it was funny - and that's a good thing because I had a couple of other customers, over the years, leave me Chick tracts as a tip.
I prayed for them.