Here are two questions: First, if you disagree with a restaurant's tipping policy, should you take it out on the server? Second, even if you disagree on the amount being asked, should you really bring tithing into the discussion?
That appears to have happened at a St. Louis-area restaurant recently.
Reddit user “GateFlan,” who claims to be a server, posted the following photo on Tuesday showing how an alleged “pastor” reacted to the restaurant’s automatic gratuity policy, adding, "My mistake sir, I'm sure Jesus will pay for my rent and groceries":
The server claims the party's bill was greater than $200 and that the man tried to have it broken up so as to avoid paying the automatic gratuity.
“Parties up to eight at my work may tip whatever they’d like,” explains the server, “but larger parties receive an automatic gratuity. It’s in the computer, it’s not something I do.”
Moreover, as the server points out, the restaurant's menus clearly state that an automatic gratuity is included on parties of eight or more (most restaurants are required to conspicuously post this).
When the group’s attempt to get out of paying the gratuity didn’t work, the "pastor" decided to lay down some “theological” passive-aggressiveness.
"I give God 10% — why do you get 18?" the customer wrote on the receipt, signing it "Pastor [redacted]."
"They had no problem with my service, and told me I was great," the server said. "They just didn't want to pay when the time came."
After the photo went viral, angry Reddit users went searching for the "pastor."
"At least one pastor was forced to issue a response denying responsibility, and the server herself has asked fellow Redditors to stop posting personal information of random people 'who don't deserve a Reddit mob banging down their Internet door,'" Gawker's Neetzan Zimmerman notes.
Also, the usual disclaimer applies: This story could be a hoax.
Remember: In February, 2012, a blogger concocted some cock-and-bull story about a greedy “one percenter” who wrote “get a real job” on his receipt. It never happened and the story was created to stir up anti-Wall Street sentiment. Similarly, the above photo could be a fake designed to stoke some sort of anti-Christian sentiment (keep in mind, the photo went viral after it appeared in Reddit's Atheism page).
Still, if the “pastor” story is indeed true, and he used his faith as an excuse to stiff his waitress, there are plenty who will be -- and are -- upset (even those not a fan of compulsory gratuities can say it makes the man's faith look bad).
“We understand why someone might be upset about an automatic gratuity,” Chris Morran writes for The Consumerist. “But we can’t recall any religious texts that claim the best way to combat an unpleasant situation is to leave a passive-aggressive note while simultaneously penalizing someone who did not create the problem.”
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This article has been updated.