I posted an ad for the book ScamBible a few days ago and a reader sent me a comment that I think needs to be addressed.

“So what have I, a frequent restaurant diner who almost always tips 20-25%, done to deserve being systematically “scammed” by my waiter or bartender, who is apparently now learning such techniques from a book?” – Chuck

Well I posted the ad and the man deserves an answer. Chuck, you do not deserve to be ripped off. Decent customers should always be treated well.

So why did I post the ad?

1) It was free advertising for a couple of guys trying to sell their creation. As a fellow waitron I am obligated under the Secret Honor Code of Waiters to assist them. Hey they sent me a free copy! How cool is that?

2) Most of the scams involve sticking it to the owners – not the customers. Yes I know on some level this cost gets passed along to the consumers, but if you worked in the restaurant biz you might be able to empathize with a waiter’s need to strike back. Some restaurant owners are scumbags. I worked for a guy that tried to make me eat a $300 emergency room bill when I was injured on the job. He fought the claim and I had to fight bill collectors for years. Other shitty things he did? Well……

a) Trimmed hours off employee timecards so he didn’t have to pay them for the full time they worked. Victims were usually Hispanic. If they complained he threatened to call immigration.

b) Called busboys “peasants” to their faces

c) Knowingly let his managerial staff force waiters to pay bribes to get decent schedules.

d) Fired people for bullshit reasons. The real reasons? If you were Black, Gay, or Jewish you were out! This owner was an evil prick and would have made the Waffen SS proud.

e) Whenever a waiter made too much in tips one week he would slash their schedule the next. He liked keeping everyone broke and dependent on his largesse.

f) Worst of all he brought shitty cakes from Costco and passed them off as homemade. He will burn in hell for that one.

If you worked for this Mini Hitler you might steal from him too. The ends don’t justify the means, I know, but what can you do?

3. I believe in freedom of expression. There are books on how to cheat on your taxes, scam casinos, and even build fucking nuclear bombs! You check them out at the library! It’s only illegal if you actually do it! (And I put in the proper disclaimer so there!)

4.What’s the big deal about a couple of waiters making a few quick bucks? Trust me – Corporate America is ripping you off on a scale that would make the writers of ScamBible spontaneously emit in their pants. I would worry more about the Enrons of the world.

5. Customers steal more stuff than waiters ever will. Besides walking out on the bill they have been known to steal: pens, salt shakers, candles, napkins, tablecloths, check holders, pepper mills, cheese graters, breadbaskets, light bulbs, umbrellas, fur coats, bathroom mirrors, plumbing fixtures, chairs, the owner’s wife, phones, computer screens, and once I heard about an entire sink ripped out of a wall. Many restaurants figure theft and breakage costs at 3-5% of their budget.

6. The book is in good fun. Fluvio and I were reading it and laughing about the shit we pulled in our day.

7. Modern Point of Sale computer systems make ripping off anybody very difficult. Many of the scams described in the book only work with a paper ticket system which is going the way of the dinosaur.

8. Most waiters are honest. Certainly more honest that those Enron scumbags.

9. I don’t steal. (At least not now) and I don’t let my coworkers steal either.

10. I’m a waiter whore. I love the attention!

So relax Chuck. You’re more likely to get ripped off at the gas station than a restaurant. Have you seen the price of gas? That’s a real scam!

Thanks for the post. Toodles.

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