“Hello, the Bistro. How may I help you?”

“Yeah, I want to talk to the manager,” an angry voice sputters.

“I’m the manager. How can I be of assistance?” I reply sweetly.

“One of your waiters ripped me off last night!” the man yells.

Oh boy.

“Tell me what happened,” I ask bracing myself.

“I ate in your place last night. The check was $100 and I left a $12 tip. I checked my bank balance as soon as I got home and a $120 dollars was taken out of my account. Not $112. $120! The waiter gave himself an extra eight bucks!” he shouts.

“Do you have a copy of the check?” I ask

“Yep, I keep copies of everything,” he crows proudly.

“What kind of card did you use?”


“Ok, now what’s the name of the server on the bill?”

He tells me. It’s my name. Great

I remember this guy. A cheap affectatious turtleneck wearing wine snob. I remember being pissed at his lame tip. Asshole.

“I was your server last night.” I state.

“You’re a thief!” the man hisses.

I take a deep calming breath. “Sir, did you pay with a check card?”


“Does your Visa take the funds directly out of your checking account?” I ask

“Yeah, it’s my ATM card too. What does that have to do with anything?”

“When you pay with a check card the bank often holds extra monies aside during processing to cover the gratuity. When the amounts are reconciled the bank will return the extra eight bucks. Your statement will probably read correctly tomorrow,” I explain


“Call your bank sir. They’ll confirm what I’m saying.”

“I’m gonna call them right now. If you’re lying I’ll get you fired.”

“Good, I look forward to your apology.” I say politely.

“What?” he croaks.

“Have a nice day sir,” I say hanging up on him. Prick.

I’ve had several calls regarding bank cards. No one ever called me a thief.

Turtleneck never called back. He probably contacted his bank and they confirmed what I told him. Quick to impugne my honesty he wasn’t so quick to admit when he was wrong.

But I expected nothing less.

What kind of person goes out to eat and checks his bank balance the minute he gets home? A person who can’t really afford to go out to eat?

No. It’s a person constantly in fear of being ripped off.

Turtleneck’s so paranoid that he zealously guards what little he has. Assuming the worst about everyone and everything he immediately arrived at the worst conclusion about my character. Everyone is a threat. Everyone wants what he has. We’re all wolves in sheep’s clothing. He probably treats everyone like that.

Turtleneck must live a lonely existence. Maybe he suffered a trauma that made him that way. Maybe he’s stewing in a hell of his own making.

I recall his date last night couldn’t wait to leave. She fidgeted uncomfortably throughout the meal. Turtleneck went home alone.

Big surprise.

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