I like to regard this space as the thinking woman’s guide to travel and food. So, this seems like the perfect place to start a discussion about something that happened to me yesterday, and what you, my fellow Rollerbag Goddesses, think I should do about it.
I was having lunch with a dear friend at a favorite local place, where I often grab a bite–the food is authentic and delicious, the prices are good, and the staff are always friendly and prompt. When it was time for our check, our waiter–a man who had waited on my table many times–told me in hushed tones that the owner of the restaurant had claimed I hadn’t paid my bill the last time I was in, and thus, docked his pay for the $13.69 a friend and I spent on two entrees and a drink. He said he didn’t believe that I would walk out on my bill; the owners had done this to him several times. He asked if I would write a letter to the owners on his behalf.
I was shocked initially, then later, I began to feel used on all ends of the spectrum. As a regular and a bill-paying customer, I was offended that anyone would even think that I could walk out on my bill. But more than that, I got the distinct impression that I was nothing more than a pawn in the restaurant owner’s attempt to squeeze her employees out of some of their hard earned paycheck. More, I realized if this was really happening, the wait staff were not getting the (rather generous) tips I left for them at the register.
As a foodie, I love this place. It has some of the best food in town. But I’m wondering if I have a social responsibility here. If the owners are doing as the worker says, they probably know they have him in a corner. There is a chance he is an undocumented worker, though I have no proof of this. If he is, this job is probably his only source of income, and he doesn’t have many other career options. At the very least, it’s likely he’s sending money overseas to take care of family.
Should I write the letter? Should I confront the restaurant owner? Should I pay the waiter for the money he’s lost? Or should I turn away from one of my favorite foodie finds and never return?
RBGs, what would you do?