Family Locked Inside Restaurant For Not Tipping

Submitted by: kitteh9lives 4 years ago

Should a restaurant be able to force you to pay a gratuity? Is locking someone in a restaurant even legal?
There are 70 comments:
Male 52
Even if it`s called a tip, if it`s stated as required on the menu it`s simply part of the price and needs to be paid. That being said, false imprisonment is still illegal.
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Male 14,774
Breach of contract? Dunno matter of law, but there is definitely a civil/criminal case of false imprisonment.
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Male 14,330
@8BitHero

That cause your job is considered menial labor tons of sales jobs do something like tips called commission.
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Male 5,413
I have a job in which I work in a freezer for 12 from 6pm to 6am and I`m 21. If I do a good service should I get more? Why don`t retail workers get ti[s for going to the stock to see if there is stock of a pair of shoes etc? If you get pissed off about not getting a tip then you`re pretty much a lazy arse hat who has no motivation to work, especially considering other people have much harder jobs.

"Oh no that one person didn`t tip me so now I hate their guts blah blah blah! But all other 50 people I served that night did tip me giving me roughly an additional £100" Boohoo.

You`re supposed to be doing a good job anyway.
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Male 3,364
I worked as a bartender and server ages ago, and they also had a policy of adding the tip to large parties, but, a manager would always make a point of visiting the table before the bill was presented, and there were complaints, we couldn`t addd the tip. That`s how it should be done, folks.
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Male 14,330
Servers who work where no one tips have no motivation to serve well. The longest wait for food in my life was in Canada leave a tip ya cheap f**ks.
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Male 1,737
I once went to an Indian(Asian kind), the charged 20% tip after the meal, it was a buffet, and they brought us a glass of water each. I was pissed, but I payed it and will never return. The food sucked anyways, it was all done with pretty much the same curry, so it all tasted the same.
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Male 766
The hell they`d detain me! But then I don`t live in `merca
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Female 102
(continued)

from now on I will definitely be checking the entrances and menus for the fine print!
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Female 102
Dear God/Heavens/Flying Spaghetti Monster!!!

I agree with kingdomCome in that if it`s not optional it should be called a "service charge" by the restaurant. It obviously has nothing to do with "gratuity" by definition.

I`m easy to please when I dine out and I`m very appreciative of good service. I don`t even care if the server is "bubbly" or not. I tip based on the server`s politeness and willingness and I take into consideration that there are lots of things that may be out of their control. (Not too long ago I ate at a restaurant where the host/greeter and the manager overstepped their boundaries and made us feel uncomfortable and the food was blah- but the server was extremely courteous, conscientious and helpful so I tipped him well as he rightfully deserved.)

So, like Buidah said:
"Compulsory tips? Ridiculous."

I`ve never seen this kind of "gratuity by policy" (or could I have missed it?) but
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Male 700
Whats a tip?
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Male 735
i would break the window, i don`t care if i could go out the back!
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Male 527
lawlcats, the rules are different in the US. Wait staff is paid less than minimum wage because it is expected that tips will make up the rest of their wages. By US Federal law, the minimum wage for wait staff is $2.13/hour.

Usually, the places I go to have a rule that parties of 8 or more have to pay a mandatory gratuity of 15%. Pardon the pun, but this place sounds kind of fishy.
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Male 14
I don`t believe in tipping unless the service is absolutely stellar (and I can only think of 2 times off the top of my head when it was and I gave a $10 tip on a $20 dollar meal both times)

For me, I work a minimum wage job and I do not get tips no matter how great my customer service is (in fact it is illegal for me to accept tips as the government takes it as a form of bribery) so why should they? And yes, they do get paid less but I do not agree that they should (although I know some that make a higher base wage than I do)

As for this story, they should have paid as per the policy. Get locked in? No.
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Female 1,589
I wouldn`t have argued. I would just pay the full bill and never eat there again. It`s too much effort and a waste of time.
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Male 759
If anyone locked me in a restaurant i`d just leave through the fire exit
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Female 11
Usually it`s for parties over 8 people. I can understand that, but 6? That`s like two families getting something to eat. Why would you make it 17% for 6 people? Unless the meals are about 2.00 each. I don`t see a very long future for this restaurant.
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Male 2,376
ya htey do that because when the bill comes and its 200+$ everyone always looks at a 20$ tip and ggoes that good enough.. and it is in my opinion... but its not 15%.. just seems liek a really good tip
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Male 412
My take...

1. If it`s listed on the menu, they should be required to pay it (see below, though...)

2. The restaurant should not be allowed to detain them UNLESS they are actively pursuing getting law enforcement involved for theft of service or something equivalent. I can`t tell from the video if the restaurant waited an inordinate amount of time before calling law enforcement.

3. If a restaurant is allowed to mandate and enforce a `gratuity`, then patrons should also be given the right to seek redress in a court of law for their grievance of having money taken without the performance of a service.

4. I`d much rather that restaurants pay a living wage to their employees and not mandate tips. I wouldn`t mind the base price of my meals being higher than it is now, and I`d likely pay the same total as I am today.
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Female 15
You can totally tell where everyone who commented is from based on their responses...

Besides, America isn`t the only place with weird restaurant rules and etiquette. Have European countries never heard of Free Refills? And the sizes for drinks are ridiculous... I can finish off my water or iced tea in about two gulps...
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Male 112
Tipping is and should always be conditional. If you did well at your job, or entertained me with more conversation than "WE DONT HAVE COKE, ONLY PEPSI!", than I will tip you well. No one should ever demand a tip, thats like demanding respect from someone. If you have to ask for it, you probably dont deserve it anyways.

I dont care if you get paid less than minimum wage, and rely on those tips to make a living wage. The fact that employers can manipulate your wages as a server to the point where you are getting screwed, makes it totally insane why anyone would ever take these jobs ever. Either do your job well, or find another job.
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Male 1,083
I guess its called a gratuity because you pay for something that is normally free? And dont most restaurants give discounts to large groups not extra fees?
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Male 1,053
Tipping in the US is not like tipping anywhere else it seems. Most places the wages are reduced and made up by tips. From Wikipedia:

"Laws in the states of Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington require all employees to be paid at least minimum wage. However, it is still customary to give standard tips in those places. Elsewhere, wage laws allow employers to credit an amount of earned tips against the minimum wage, allowing them to pay tipped employees less than minimum wage. As of September 2009, this reduction can be as low as $1.45 per hour in West Virginia, or as high as 100% in Virginia, reducing potential wages to $5.80 or $0 per hour, respectively."
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Male 768
Tipping is MORONIC!
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Male 592
if you want to be paid X amount for the food, charge X amount. im not going to pay some waitress a tip just because i dined at their restaurant. they get paid, they have a job. i don`t get tips for welding or putting up cable trunking. i mean if they wipe my ass on request i might, i`d tip for that.
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Male 14,330
@Solvent

I hope for your sake you don`t frequent the same place just a word of advice from a former waiter.
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Male 2,841
Tipping is for suckers. Nuff said.
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Male 1,053
There is precendent against the enforcability of mandatory gratuities. More than one article like this out there... One way around it seems to be to call it a `service charge`, but that seems to affect the way the business accounts for the income.

Read more...
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Male 14,330
Cheap pathetic f**ks like to complain about nothing even if the service was good to get a free meal which is why if I owned or managed I`d tell em to never come back.
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Male 1,059
I`d put it this way. The policy is clearly stated and so, legally, the restaurant has every right to detain and call the police as if they were skipping out on the entire bill.

HOWEVER, it is very, very bad business. If I owned that restaurant, I would apologize profusely to the customer, maybe even comp them the entire meal and then have a serious word with my staff, possibly even including firings, depending on how bad the service was and history, etc. No excuses - the fault for this entire incident lies in the restaurant staff, not the customers, even though the restaurant technically has a legal case.
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Male 1,311
The 15-20% was only added to insure crappy service would still get tipped, that way they can blame it on the number of the table. Decent service should still be decent service. It`s just an excuse. Get better waiters/waitresses.
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Male 926
@kingdomCome

I here you, but the problem is their policy of 17% gratuity being automatically added for parties of 5 or more. The issue would be how inconspicuous that policy was. Either way, the issue for the family in a civil case will turn on whether or not the restaurant had a reasonable belief that they were being short-changed. Since the employees were simply following company policy, they likely will not be held liable for any unreasonable detainment or false imprisonment. They acted reasonably under the circumstances and let the cops sort it out. The company itself has no liability since it was a clearly defined policy, and would only be vicariously liable for the tortious conduct of their employees. Since the employees are highly unlikely to be found liable of any wrongdoing, there will be no liability for anybody.
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Male 1,053
Shopkeepers in some places are allowed to detain suspected shoplifters (thieves) under certain circumstances.

Read more...
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Male 153
ambullamps!
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Male 2,586
haha, America... the place where you have to pay for people to treat you like poo, they`ll let you die if you`re not covered by insurance and where you can be sued for a weed growing in your front `yard` because it detracts from the rest of the neighbourhood.

Sign me up!!! [/sarcasm]
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Male 148
If it`s clearly stated on the menu then they should have to pay it end of. But it shouldn`t be compulsory in the first place.

Furthermore in my experience with restaurants if the service or food is particularly bad and you speak to the manager (certainly in individual restaurants) they are usually quite helpful. If it is a chain restaurant then writing a letter to head office usually works.

But as for locking people in that is outright wrong.
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Female 220
Two sides to every story.. They didn`t speak with the manager that was working nor the employee. I`ve seen tables get crazy for no reason. And I mean absoultly no reason, just to get a free meal. One example is that I`ve seen a woman put one of her daughters hairs in her meal and then I came by and she told me she `found` it in her food and asked to speak with the manager. Another time my manager was talking to a table and the chick didn`t like what he had to say and stood up and yelled "I`ll mop the floor with your white ass."
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Male 338
This is simply a case of the restaurant mis-understanding and inappropriately using the term "gratuity". This is not a gratuity, gratuity is always optional, even if it is automatically added to the bill - it can be removed at the customer`s request.
What this is, is a service charge (ie, not optional).

@maddux, they said they would pay for the meal, but not the gratuity. The facts are not as black and white as you paint them. I don`t know if there is a specific legal meaning of "gratuity" in this state (or the US), but here in the UK, if there isn`t a specified meaning in law (as is the case for "gratuity"), any word is interpreted as having its normal layman`s meaning....gratuity = payment(money or otherwise) without obligation.
The key here is obviously "without obligation".
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Female 2,525
@maddux32, I`d say the "stealing" bit is debatable since they paid for the food.
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Male 29
...the point is being missed here....the local 2 newscaster is smoking hot!!!!
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Male 244
had that been a waffle house, fists d`been a`flying
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Male 1,418
If the restaurant provides proper service (or at least gets the order right) then many would be fine with the required gratuity. The fact is, the service given didn`t deserve it. As for locking them in, I`m sure that`s all sorts of illegal.
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Male 6,737
Compulsory tips?

Ridiculous.
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Male 926
It`s not unlawful detainment. A shopkeeper/ restaraunt owner has the right to detain through reasonable means and customer whom they have suspicion of stealing from the establishment. Here, they don`t have reasonable suspicion, she flat out told them that she would not pay. So long as the detainment wasn`t over the top, keeping them there while calling the police is perfectly fine. I would turn this case away if she came into my office with it.
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Male 2,143
Zombunny, Kidnapping and Unlawfull detainment are felonies. What thay should have done is hit them with chairs,throw a few tables thru windows or just plain Shoot them.
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Female 3,727
"Laws in the states of Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington require all employees to be paid at least minimum wage. However, it is still customary to give standard tips in those places. Elsewhere, wage laws allow employers to credit an amount of earned tips against the minimum wage, allowing them to pay tipped employees less than minimum wage. As of September 2009, this reduction can be as low as $1.45 per hour in West Virginia, or as high as 100% in Virginia, reducing potential wages to $5.80 or $0 per hour, respectively."
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Male 3,909
The whole tipping your waiter/waitress thing is f*cked up if you ask me. I`m pretty sure it varies depending on what state you`re in here in the USA. When I lived in Colorado, my ex-gf was in college at the time and a waitress part-time, since the waitstaff get tips the restaurant is allowed to pay them less than minimum wage. This was in `05, I think, and she was being paid like $2.50/hr, the rest of her money was earned in tips, which they have to claim and the tips are also taxed.
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Female 3,727
JaundiceCake
Female, 18-29, Eastern US
553 Posts Monday, May 14, 2012 10:36:21 AM
The stereotype is true, according to a delivery driver I know. Black people never ever tip.
___

Unless you`re that delivery driver then maybe you shouldn`t talk. I`m black and I tip VERY well. My family tips very well. I was always taught, if you don`t have enough to leave a tip then don`t go out to eat. Now what?

Idiot!
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Female 2,525
@Rick_S, citizen`s arrest laws are only applicable when the suspect has committed a felony.
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Male 2,988
The fact that police had to be called means these people were more likely very far from being nice about not trying to pay the tip. And their claims about the bad service? Not to be racist, but having waited tables for many years, these type of people more frequently than not are super needy, constantly look for reasons to complain, and generally don`t like to tip over 10% even for great service. I`m going to have to side with the restaurant on this one.
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Male 2,345
this is still unlawful detainment. Citizens arrest cases are usually not going to cover something like this nor do they usually turn out well for those that try it.

detaining someone unless you are an officer of the law and have placed them under arrest is always illegal.

I am pretty sure they could file kidnapping charges (unlawful detainment).

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Female 3,727
@Matwix, I`m American, silly! Anyway, I agree on tipping because they don`t pay waiters and waitresses a living wage. I`ve been there. There are people making almost nothing an hour and have to survive on tips.

This is different though, they can`t hold you against your will for an optional gratuity. But apparently, it`s not optional, it`s included in the bill in this restaurant. That is wrong.
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Male 14,330
@lostinkorea

Some places mark on their menu if you have a party over a certain amount gatuity is included. Don`t like it don`t eat there.
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Male 5,811
[quote]What about performing a citizens arrest? Can`t anyone detain you for breaking the law, using whatever force is necessary, and waiting for police to arrive?[/quote]
Citizen`s arrest (at least in Canada, not sure about US) is only possible when you witness a person committing an indictable offense, and in this case, it would definitely not be indictable, it would be a summary conviction, if anything at all.
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Male 14,330
Sterotypes you`re not helping them!
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Female 674
The stereotype is true, according to a delivery driver I know. Black people never ever tip.
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Male 2,551
lostinkorea - In America it`s (as far as I can tell) a tip is basically part of the bill that isn`t put onto the bill. Personally, I can`t see why if they want more for it, they don`t charge more, and have the tip be optional. I only tip if a) I`ve had exceptional waiter service, or the food was brilliant.

Otherwise, you`re doing your job, and getting paid for it.
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Female 403
17% Tip?! Wow I am glad I don`t live in the US. I`ve done waitressing and received naff all in tips before. I never expected tips because my employer paid me, not the customer. It`s all stupid.
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Male 1,558
A set grat = lazy servers. Been in the business for 35 years-I know!
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Male 37,888

[quote]"the police in this case didn`t know, but they should have been able to find out." [/quote]
Police are not there for right/wrong or for justice.
The police are there to keep the peace and let lawyers settle the rest. If a shopowner says you didn`t pay a bill, guess who the police are gonna side with.
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Male 3,285
@gerry they play for me. Perhaps you need to reinstall your flash player, or empty your browser cache and cookies. Have you tried a different browser?
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Female 3,727
I do believe in tipping but how can you be obligated to pay an automatic gratuity?

By definition, a gratuity is a tip. No one is obligated to pay a tip...

Am I missing something?
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Male 3,314
"but the restaurant staff themselves cannot legally detain you, so no, it is not legal, the charge is unlawful imprisonment."

What about performing a citizens arrest? Can`t anyone detain you for breaking the law, using whatever force is necessary, and waiting for police to arrive?
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Male 3,314
In jurisdiction after jurisdiction it has been decided that the automatically added gratuity is not a requirement. You can refuse to pay it, and it is not stealing or against the law. It is definitely something that is a local issue, and could vary from town to town.

For my two cents, if I didn`t want to pay it, I wouldn`t pay it, and I`d ask them to call the police. I`m not going to try to leave your establishment before the bill is resolved, and if you can`t do it, let`s get the police involved and work it out. Apparently the police in this case didn`t know, but they should have been able to find out.
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Male 376
Go work in a restaurant in the south for a year, then come tell me what your assessment of this situation is. I guarantee, at the very least, it will contain a hint of racism.
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Male 404
I lol`d when I saw they were black. I have refused to leave tips before though because of horrible service.
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Male 37,888

again, video wouldn`t play.
what`s up IAB? Half the youtube vids don`t play.
I haven`t changed my settings.
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Male 5,314
for real. if you don`t read/like the policy, don`t eat there.
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Male 3,842
Didn`t watch, but the answer is, if you are accused of stealing, the restaurant may call the police, who can detain you, but the restaurant staff themselves cannot legally detain you, so no, it is not legal, the charge is unlawful imprisonment.
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Female 8,044
Link: Family Locked Inside Restaurant For Not Tipping [Rate Link] - Should a restaurant be able to force you to pay a gratuity? Is locking someone in a restaurant even legal?
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