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Restaurant Cheapskates

My wife Apple works at a restaurant, so of course there are always plenty of comedy bits to hear about when she gets home. Tales of stingy customers, drunken fools, employee drama, etc. are always entertaining, sometimes maddening. I heard a story last night of a party who was determined to get their coupon’s worth no matter how they had to go about it.

During the slow season — that’s summer for you non-Florida types — the restaurant where Apple works runs a “2 for $34” special on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you bring in this big coupon you get in the mail (or if you cut it out of the newspaper), two people can dine for $34 bucks. Normally this would be more like a $50 endeavor, so it’s a good deal. You don’t even need to bring the coupon — management is so forgiving, they’ll just give you one when you get the check. But even all of this generosity could not conspire to get a clue for these two people I heard about last night.

A couple of people showed up at the restaurant on Monday night and ate dinner at the sushi bar. They wanted to use their 2 for $34 coupon which they had in hand. Unfortunately, it says right on the coupon (and not just in fine print, either) that the deal is only valid on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The customers asked to be allowed to use it anyway. Their server didn’t have that authority, so the manager was brought out. The customers whined that they were non-residents and would be leaving the area the following day, so they “had no choice” but to come and eat there on Monday. The manager also refused to honor the coupon since it just plain wasn’t coupon day. Case closed, right?

Maybe for you and me, but these customers decided they’d stick it to the restaurant. After receiving their four sushi rolls (probably about $30-40 right there) and eating them all completely, they complained that the sushi was “not what they expected” and demanded that the charge for it be taken off the bill! Okay, that’s one thing if you haven’t eaten it. But they cleaned the plates! Surprisingly, the manager complied, in a move I still don’t quite understand. So the customer ended up bilking the restaurant out of more money than they would have if they’d been allowed to fraudulently use the coupon. There you go, folks — pure “gimme gimme” tactics in effect!

I still don’t get why the manager rolled over so easily, though. To hear her explain it, it was more apathy than anything…like, “Oh well, if you keep abusing our restaurant like this, eventually we’ll go out of business and then you won’t be able to kick us around anymore.” I’m sure the bevy of employees that work at said restaurant would be real happy to hear what a high value has been placed on their services, that they would be sold out to make an albeit very weak point (I mean, wouldn’t it be pretty easy for theiving customers to just go somewhere else and play the same gag?). Anyway, it’s not my business…literally.