The server, a seven-year veteran of a Raleigh Waffle House, was working the overnight shift on Mother’s Day weekend when a local businessman wrote in a $1,500 tip on his credit receipt with the instruction that $500 of that be given to a needy-looking fellow diner in the adjoining booth.
But that tip just went back into the customer’s account instead of into the pockets of the server and the other diner.
“I feel like they stole from me,” the waitress tells the News and Observer. “They did exactly what they teach us not to do.”
A rep for the restaurant chain explained that, in order to preempt possible disputes from customers, company policy is to refund oversize credit card tips to customers and that big tippers should be asked to show their generosity via cash or check.
“It sounds weak to me,” writes the News and Observer’s Josh Shaffer. “You’re denying your workers a benefit based on a worst-case scenario. Nobody carries $1,000 in cash to a Waffle House, and plenty of people leave the checkbook at home.”
My college years in Virginia are full of late-night outings to Waffle House, which was often packed with revelers packing on the carbs, proteins, and starches in an effort to prevent hangovers. My guess is that Waffle House has probably has had to deal with its fair share of morning-after disputes from customers who, no longer intoxicated, regretted leaving substantial tips on their middle-of-the-night meals.
So a policy presumably intended to prevent the headache of fighting chargebacks appears to have turned into a bit of a PR headache for the restaurant chain.
Shaffer was able to provide the waitress’s contact info to the tipper, who says he is sending the server a personal check to make sure she gets the tip he’d wanted to leave.