Check, please

Is it okay to simply leave cash (and tip, if applicable) on the table and leave the restaurant if you’ve been left waiting an excruciatingly long time for the check?  Do you get stuck in this unenviable situation as often as I do (which is quite often, I assure you)?  The problem is that this is a debit card world and I rarely go to a restaurant with the intention of paying cash, so I’m stuck waiting for the waiter or waitress anyway.  But, if I do have cash, is there anything wrong with just leaving the money on the table and taking off?  The main reason I haven’t attempted this before is because I’m scarred from that January 1996 incident (Captain, you know what I’m saying) at the “Cafe,” and I figure that if the server saw me leaving the restaurant, he/she would think I was skipping out on the bill and it would lead to an uncomfortable incident.

I’m thinking of turning over a new leaf in 2007 and trying to be more cash-oriented.  This will require me to stick to more of a budget.  Best of all, it will give me peace of mind when eating out, knowing that I’ll never again be held prisoner by the waitstaff.  Freedom!

4 thoughts on “Check, please”

  1. I will agree, that I certainly feel “awkward” about leaving cash on the table to pay for my tab.. but it is a common practice. As long as you have received the check, it is acceptable to leave cash. If you have not yet received the bill, it is not acceptable unless you leave significantly more than the expected bill. For instance:
    Expected BIll: $35.
    Amount Left: $50.

    There’s always tax, tip and other various things that end up in the bill that you need to take into consideration. For instance, your neighbor’s salad might end up on your bill.. you’re not there to dispute. They believe you’ve stiffed them.

    That being said, it’s best to wait for the check. At that point, any legal currency is acceptable.

  2. agree with the above…common practice. Sometimes, if the waiter/waitress does not see the credit card sticking out, they won’t even come over so they don’t interupt you… They’ll make eye contact, in case you need change, but after you get the check, you’re no cash flow to them, so they don’t care… But, what do I know… I sell latex.

  3. So, if I’m kept waiting for the check for an extraordinarily long time, I have no recourse? We’re living in a society!!!

  4. Yes, your recourse is to get up and go hunt down the waitress or find someone who can. I think that is perfectly acceptable. The hostess would be a good place to go, “Um, excuse me, can you let our waitress know that we are ready for the check?” I’m positive you will get it promptly. If you are afraid of getting said waiter/waitress in trouble just say, “The service has been excellent but we’re in a bit of a rush, could you let our waitress know that we are ready for the bill?”

    Problem solved!

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