In days of old, before fast-food and fine dining and fast casual and upscale casual, the only place to “eat out” in any 20-mile radius was the Village Inn & Tavern. You ordered your leg of mutton and your bucket of Ale from the owner-operator, handed him a shilling issued from the local Duke, ate your “meal,” and went home to read the Bible.
In the future, the waiter will charge you for your bill by waiving a scent-scanner near your armpits. You’ll leave your tip by making armpit fart noises—one for each percent you want to tip.
We’re sort of in limbo now. We’re not quite at that utopia of instant payment but we’ve moved far past that situation where you pay first and ask questions later. In most upscale-and-higher restaurants, you finish your entire meal and pay after you conclude all possible purchases from a restaurant.
Here’s the real thing, though: you’re all horribly bad at paying your mother freakin’ bill.
It should go like this: after the waiter asks you if there’s anything else you need, and after you decline, he gives you your bill. After five or fewer minutes, you place your card or cash into the check presenter in a manner where the card or cash is still visible. The waiter swipes your card or presents change for your cash, thanks you for your patronage, and concludes your evening. That’s how everything should work.
Somehow, however, you’ve completely lost the ability to perform this most simple of transactions. I never drive through a McDonald’s and fail to pay for my bill when I’m asked. I never go to Sak’s with some oblivious and money-sucking 22-year-old to purchase her a new Ferragamo Handbag for $1400 and not present my Barclay’s Black Card when I’m asked. So why the f— are you so unfailingly unable to pay your bill correctly?
If you ask for the bill and I give you the bill, you need to pay that bill IMMEDIATELY. There is no excuse, ever, for you to ask for the bill and not then pay it within a minute of receiving it. Were you just curious about the total? Were you worried that you didn’t have enough in your overdrawn debit account for it? Well, the piper’s here and he needs to be paid. NEVER ask for the bill unless you are prepared to pay it within 60 seconds. Never.
If, after I give you dessert and coffee and ever-fattening after-dinner hot-milk based beverages, you do not want anything else, I will give you the bill. You really have 5 minutes to pay for that bill. I’ll place it standing up in a vertical fashion on your table. If you look at that the bill and place it flat on your table, I’ll take it as a sign that you have a credit card in that bill. I assume credit card because I know you’re overdrawn and have about 47 cents of cash to your name. So if I grab it, open it, and find no card in it, that’s entirely and wholly your problem. I’m sick of apologizing for your non-payment. For all I know, you’re Newports Biggest Restaurant Dine-and-Dasher. Pay your freakin’ bill and be gone. You’re occupying my table and depriving my girl of Botox and another new Chanel handbag.
Please remember that I’m not Superman and therefore, I cannot see through the check presenter and cannot tell if you slipped your overdrawn AmEx Platinum card in it or not. If I were Superman, I’d (1) be taller and (2) be more fit and (3) not be working for this freakin’ restaurant. I’d be working for Morton’s, baby. So I can’t see through things. Feel free to let your card or the last few dollars to your name peek through the side or top of the check presenter. That way, I can finally charge you and push you out on your way.
Finally, you can leave right after you pay your bill. You don’t have to linger. As the Cranberries sang, you don’t have to let your fat, overdrawn self linger. Once you’ve paid, you’re dead to me. You’re more dead than all my childhood dreams.
Get the f— out. Please. Nothing is worse than a guest who can’t pay correctly or promptly.
Thank you and Goodnight.