A few days ago, a waitress named Chelsea posted an image of a receipt she got from a guest who happened to be both a Pastor, and apparently incredibly cheap. The image is in the header picture for this article.
The note the Pastor left said, 'I give God 10% Why do you get 18,' and was accompanied by a zero in the tip portion of the receipt.
In a report filed by The Consumerist, she said that she posted the image to Reddit as a lighthearted joke, stating,
“I thought the note was insulting, but it was also comical. I posted it to Reddit because I thought other users would find it entertaining.”
As most restaurants do, Applebee's adds an automatic gratuity for parties that have over a certain number of guests. This number varies by restaurants, but is commonly eight or more patrons.
According to the reciept, the Pastor scratched out the $6.29 gratuity and wrote the zero as referred to earlier, along with the note.
Chelsea commented on Reddit, along with the image she posted, her thoughts,
“My mistake sir, I’m sure Jesus will pay for my rent and groceries.”
The Consumerist cites Chelsea's reply as,
“I had already started receiving messages containing Facebook profile links and blogs and websites, asking me to confirm the identity of the customer. I refused to confirm any of them, and all of them were incorrect. I worked with the website moderators to remove any personal information. I wanted to protect the identity of both my fellow server and the customer. I had no intention of starting a witch hunt or hurting anyone — I just wanted to share a picture I found interesting.”
The signature of the pastor, which Chelsea thought to be illegible, was used to identify the Pastor, who found out about the picture and contacted the restaurant, demanding that not only Chelsea be fired, but all the managers, as well.
Chelsea maintains her dismissal was not warranted, as she maintains that her actions did nothing to damage the reputation of Applebee's, and that she had not abrogate company policy.
She told The Consumerist,
"…because this person got embarrassed that their selfishness was made public, Applebee’s has made it clear that they would rather lose a dedicated employee than lose an angry customer. That’s a policy I can’t understand.”
According to the story, The Smoking Gun interviewed the Pastor, who stated,
“My heart is really broken. I’ve brought embarrassment to my church and ministry.”
According to the site, the Pastor says she left a $6 cash tip at the table, in addition to paying the automatic gratuity.
The Consumerist states in an update to the story that Chelsea replied to the Pastor's comment,
“Whether or not she left a tip, the note was still offensive. It wasn’t my table, it wasn’t my tip. I’m not sure who ended up with what money at the end of the night. But you can’t really argue with what’s plainly written, and what was written was insulting. Insulted or not, I’ve lost my job over this mess, and that’s what I’m concerned with now. The six dollars one way or another wouldn’t really affect that situation.”
Applebee’s provided the following statement,
"Our Guests’ personal information – including their meal check – is private, and neither Applebee’s nor its franchisees have a right to share this information publicly. We value our Guests’ trust above all else. Our franchisee has apologized to the Guest and has taken disciplinary action with the Team Member for violating their Guest’s right to privacy. This individual is no longer employed by the franchisee.)"
"[When you pay for your meal] you don't pay for the service. You pay for the food. Payment for the actual service is done at the end of the transaction in the form of the tip. The tip goes to the server, to the busser, to the bartender, and to the kitchen staff. If you don't tip, then you're not paying for the service."
For more information, please read the whole story at The Consumerist.