"Stopped at a 24-hour restaurant (at which I was a fairly regular customer) for breakfast after a night shift. Waitress/counter girl/miscellaneous employee was clearly having some sort of a bad night and apparently, she decided to make it my fault.
My order took its sweet time coming and I eventually noticed it sitting in the window from the kitchen, under the heat lamps. And it sat there, and sat there, while the employee sat there, sullenly wrapping silverware in napkins. When I went up to the counter to (politely) ask about my order, she got up and walked away from me.
Finally (maybe 10 minutes later) she takes my order out from under the heat lamps and plunked it on the table in front of me. 'I've been waiting for this for ...' I said as she walked away again.
I took one bite. It was cold. Cold eggs and toast ... well, I can see where there are some circumstances in which I'd be glad to have it, but this wasn't one of them.
I got up and left, without paying. The cop in the next booth gave me nothing but an approving nod. The restaurant was out of business a month later."
"I was on a date and didn't realize the place was closing. The waitress just stopped coming around. When we finished we got up and walked around, made eye contact with her across the dining room. Girlfriend went to the restroom while I waved money at the waitress, who quickly darted into the kitchen.
Waited there for 3 or 4 minutes for the waitress to come back out, throwing casual glances at the guy cleaning the hostess stand, money in hand. There was literally no one else there. My girlfriend returned, so I shrugged and we left.
As I started the car the guy who was cleaning ran out to ask if we had paid. Went back in, signed the check, no tip.
If you're going to ignore your guests then walk away when they try to pay, the message is clear."
"I was attending a dive club meeting at a local restaurant. I ordered dinner, ate, and left a good tip on the table. When I got up to the cashier to pay for my meal, I noticed that they had added a 20% gratuity to the bill because we were in a large group. I asked them to remove the gratuity as I had already left a good tip at the table. The cashier gave me a look like I was lying and suggested I go back to the table and retrieve it.
I went back and sure enough, it was already gone. I went back to the cashier and told him what happened but he refused to budge. I told him I would try to find the waitress. While he was busy with other customers, I slipped out without paying. Never went back, either."
"My husband and I were meeting two other couples for drinks then going to another restaurant for dinner.
For drinks, we went to this popular upstairs bar that was super crowded. We seemed to show up at the same time everyone else was showing up. My friends were already tipsy as they arrived downtown early and downed a few drinks at the neighboring bar before meeting us.
The waitress served us a round of drinks. Her other attempts to serve our table went largely ignored by my party. When my table did want her attention she was often busy with other tables. This was all a matter of bad timing, inebriation, and distractions, no ill intent by either party at this point.
My party was annoyed by the waitress, and the drinks didn't allow logic or explanation to enter their brains. They said it was the worst service ever, they were leaving, and they weren't paying. My husband got up and found our waitress and told her to bring separate checks right away.
The waitress put the checks down just as the other two couples were 'going to the bathroom.'
I asked my husband to just pay for the entire bill, but he said no. He wouldn't get involved. I didn't have my wallet. So after we pay for our drinks, we leave to go downstairs to meet our party in the Uber.
Just as we start to drive off my husband realizes that he forgot his credit card upstairs. He had to go back. I whispered, 'I knew you wouldn't leave.' He went back up to pay the rest of the bill."
"In 1963 my husband was in Rio, his hometown. He had a local hangout where he always ran a tab and paid up about once a month.
He had just turned 18 and was planning to go college in the US. His mom is a US citizen. He happened to get an unexpected free ride to the States, so he left a bill behind. Well, one thing led to another. He didn't go to college. He spent 6 years in the Navy, including a tour in Vietnam that left him disabled.
So, in 1968 we get married and go to Rio for our honeymoon and to get back together with the in-laws. We spend a lot of time talking about all the old memories and end up in the same bar...where the same owner is behind the bar. We have a drink and a lot of conversation. At the end of the evening, my husband remembers the old bill and the bartender has it in the office. We look at the total and my husband realizes that he didn't bring enough cash.
The owner smiles and says: 'Don't worry, your credit is good!'"
"Over a decade ago some friends and I were out to dinner before going to see Cirque du Soleil. We went to a notable eatery located in inner Southeast Portland (Oregon) for dinner beforehand. We placed our orders for appetizers, drinks, and meals and we informed the waiter we were on a timeline as there was some common knowledge the kitchen could be a little slow.
We received our drinks and appetizers within a reasonable time, but our food was a little slow to come. During what seemed like an eternity, the tables around us got their meals and left and the people seated again received their meals and we had not received ours.
We had been there over two hours and were now cutting into the safety margin to make the start of the show. We figured out what we owed for the appetizers, drinks and a small tip. We dropped the money on the table and started walking out.
The waiter wigged out on us complaining about how we were just walking out, we blew him off and kept walking. The kitchen staff joined in cussing at us through the pass-through.
I will NEVER IN MY LIFE EAT THERE again, even if I starve."
"For six weeks straight I visited a local bar every Thursday, started a tab, ran up at least a $200 bill. Back when I had my development company, it became a regular thing to take the team out to a local bar once a week. We would start at the bar, then move outside to the patio when the band showed up so we could hear each other over the music. At the end of the night, the girl working the patio would bring us our bill and I would pay it and leave. I never really paid attention to the amounts or how much everyone had.
What I didn't realize was that the girl on the patio was starting a new tab when we came outside, which was completely separate from the tab at the bar - which was still open. Unbeknownst to me, we were stiffing the bartender and walking out on our tab every week, and only ever paid for the drinks we had outside.
This went on for about six weeks before anyone told me. Of course, by that time we were regulars and everyone who worked there knew us so they laughed it off and refused to accept payment for all of the unpaid bar tabs. I still felt pretty bad about it though, and made sure to tip the bartender the equivalent of what we would have tipped over all those visits."
"One Friday evening, about 20 years ago, I took a lady for dinner and drinks at a restaurant that featured live jazz on the weekends. It turned out that the music was not to the lady's liking, and she was also rather inebriated before I picked her up. She complained the entire time we were eating dinner, saying she wanted to go dancing at some other club (a hole in the wall). I was so irritated with her that I hurried to get her out of there before we were asked to leave (her behavior was THAT bad), and I forgot to pay the check. Needless to say, that was the last time I took her out.
It was late when I got home, and it was then that I realized that I hadn't paid for dinner. Since that establishment was one of my favorite weekend spots at the time, I stopped by there the next afternoon and asked for the manager. I explained about what happened the night before, apologized and said that I was there to take care of my bill. The manager, who happened to be the owner, was so impressed with my honesty, that she introduced me not only to the waitress I had stiffed the previous evening but also to the entire staff! From then on she welcomed me personally whenever I would stop by to relax and listen to some good music, and she would also make a point to introduce me to any of her single female friends who were also there."
"I took my sister-in-law, her husband, my wife, and mother-in-law to a really nice Japanese restaurant in Century City, LA. After we were sat we noticed there were a bunch of VERY loud, wasted college kids next to us screaming songs. We were separated from them by typical rice paper type sliding doors. And they kept opening them and sticking their heads through. Other than them and us there was no one else in the restaurant (which probably could seat several hundred), so I asked for another table. By this time we had had a couple of rounds of drinks and appetizers. They took us (party of five) and tried to sit us at a table for 2! They said it was the only table available. So back to the old table. I told my sister-in-law that if they opened the sliding door again I was going to throw my glass of water at them.
Just as the waitress brought the main course in, sure enough, the sliding door opened again and I threw my water through the opening (the water, not the glass). The next thing I know, one of them knocked the sliding door down. I stood up and said: 'Let's go.' So the five of us got up and walked out and went to another restaurant for the main course since we had already had the drinks and appetizers. Didn't even try to pay. That was about 40 years ago and the bill was probably about $100 back then. My poor mother-in-law later said the shrimp teriyaki looked so good, she almost grabbed a few before she left but decided not to."
"The first time I dined and dashed was many years ago, my friend and I went out drinking. Later on in the evening we decided we would go to a very nice restaurant for something to eat. It was an Indian restaurant, the nicest one we could find. I ordered starters and an entree and had some delicious little cakes as well. My friend wasn't shy either and ordered several dishes, eventually, the table was filled with wonderful tasty dishes. We tucked in washing them down with many drinks. My friend and I chatted for a while and in the conversation, we decided we didn't really fancy parting with our cash.
So as planned we simply got up and ran away. It was surprisingly difficult to run having eaten so much, and due to the vast amounts of drinks we had consumed. By far the laughter was the biggest hurdle to overcome. If you have never tried running whilst laughing uncontrollably you'll never understand just how difficult it actually is. It actually became a hobby of ours after this incident, we compete to see how much we can avoid paying. It is a strange hobby but brings much excitement and enjoyment. The number of restaurants we have done this to must easily be in the hundreds, perhaps even more. So far we have played this game in 7 countries!
Many will judge me for this, but really I don't care, life is too short to worry about things just enjoy life and do what you like."
"When I was on a solo trip, many people recommended this famous Indian restaurant to me. I wanted to have Indian food for dinner, so I went there.
I was starving and I waited 20 minutes to get the menu, which I got from another customer (who I ended up eating with also). Then 20 minutes to place the order. And longer to get served. I was about to leave when I saw my Ghee paper roast coming so I decided to stay. It was really very delicious. The chutneys and the sambar were so yummy. The flavors brought me back to my home in India.
After that, I had a big cup of ice cream. It was totally amazing. It was my first proper meal of the day after exploring the whole city by bicycle.
Once we finished our meal, we asked for the bill. We waited. No response. Once again, we asked. Still no response. And we asked for it two more times. Still, no one responded.
With a smile, I said: 'Let's go, I think they don't want to be paid.'
Him: 'Yeah let's go.'
Me: 'Hey I was kidding let's wait a little bit.'
Him: 'I'm not kidding but if you want we can go and wait at the counter.'
So, we went and we waited for like 10 minutes at the front counter but no one seemed to notice, or even worse, care. So finally, we decided to leave. Strangely, I didn't feel guilty for that. We asked for the bill 4 times and waited half an hour then we went to the counter and waited 10 minutes for the bill. They never brought it to us. It was not our fault. The restaurant was crowded and it was peak time. And yet it is not a reason. This is what happens when there are not enough resources in a restaurant to take care of all the customers."
"I was a taxi driver and I was on my way back from a really early airport run. I was hungry so I stopped at a lovely cafe about 20 miles before home. I ordered my breakfast, they told me to take a seat and off I went to find a table. Being in a 'nice part of town' they didn't take the money at the time of order. They expect you to ask for the check when you're ready to leave just like in a restaurant.
I thought nothing of it, ate my breakfast, drank my cup of tea, stood up and walked out. Later that day I suddenly thought, 'Jesus, I don't think I paid for that breakfast!' The following day I was in that area again so I popped in and asked, 'Did I pay for my food yesterday, I can't remember but I don't think I did?'. They asked what table I was at, etc. and told me that no I hadn't paid. So I apologized and paid and gave a big tip."
"About 9 years ago, 3 of my friends and I went to a particularly good pizza place in town to celebrate my friend's birthday. We wanted to make him spend all the money he had and ordered way more than usual. The service was very good and the food was ready in record time. We were really impressed by the service. At the end of the meal we complimented the service and wanted to pay the bill but to our surprise, there was nobody on the restaurant floor. We were the only customers and it felt almost like we had been forgotten. It was not a small amount of money either. We waited for about 30 minutes to find someone to pay the bill but nobody would come out from the restricted areas. We tried ringing the bell and knocking on the kitchen door but to no avail. After about 45 minutes we gave up because by this time we were really irritated. What started out as a great meal with great service ended up with us leaving in frustration at having to wait for so long.
Instead, we went to a dessert place and spent the same money."
"One of my friends and I went to one of our favorite places after a long and tiring day. We were undergraduate students back then. We ordered the same items, so the bill was supposed to be split equally. The place was crowded that night, however, we were served well and the food was good as usual. When the bill came, my friend didn't have the change to pay, so I paid for both of us. Normally we would check if there is an error on the bill, but as I mentioned we were tired, we just paid the bill and headed to our hostel.
The next day when my friend paid me back, I noticed there was something wrong. We calculated what our bill would be before ordering but it was less than that. That means we weren't charged for an item! I checked the bill and yes, they had forgotten to charge us for something.
We thought we would pay it the next time we visited the place, but a few weeks later the restaurant was closed for some renovation and it took 2--3 years! So technically, I left without paying, though it was not intentional."