Would you leave a bar without paying for food?

(70 Posts)
carlywurly Sat 26-Jan-13 17:37:49

If a bill hasn't been given to you?

A couple of friends did last night in a small, local tapas type of place, and seemed to think this was fine. It's been bothering me all day, to the extent that I might go back and settle it myself. (It was probably under £10)

Dp and i had a separate tab which I made sure was cleared before we left, but they were of the opinion that if the bar weren't going to ask them for money for the food they'd had, they weren't going to offer it.

What would you do?.. They are generally lovely people but this just smacks of wrong to me.

Euphemia Sat 26-Jan-13 17:39:26

No way! It's theft!


EchoBitch Sat 26-Jan-13 17:39:40

It is wrong,small businesses are struggling and it's stealing to leave a place without paying for what you've had.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Sat 26-Jan-13 17:40:33

Your friends are dicks.

MrsBW Sat 26-Jan-13 17:40:39

It's against the law and just isn't particularly classy to boot.

No that's just theft. The only time I can ever see myself not paying in that circumstance was if I had been waiting for hours and had asked several times for the bill.

I wouldn't go back and pay for someone else though.

andtheycalleditbunnylove Sat 26-Jan-13 17:42:18

only if i hadn't had any food. otherwise it would be stealing. or forgetfulness.

manicbmc Sat 26-Jan-13 17:42:45

Just don't go out with them. If they ask why say it's because they are dishonest twats.

difficultpickle Sat 26-Jan-13 17:43:41

Did they ask for the bill? If not then how is the bar supposed to know they have finished and plan to go? It would be the last time I went out for a meal with friends who behaved like that. And I would have said something at the time too.

Bobyan Sat 26-Jan-13 17:44:05

I hope the staff aren't penalised for your friends' theft.

SamanthaStormer Sat 26-Jan-13 17:46:02

That's theft. YADNBU and your "friends" are out of order. To put it nicely.

NOOO! That is cheap beyond measure and stealing to boot!

When I read the title, I was expecting the leaving without paying to follow a long list of complaints about food and service. Then and ONLY then might it be acceptable. But I'd still rather go down a complaint route TBH.

But just leaving without paying because the staff may have forgotten your bill is just an opportunistic crime. I'd have been cringing in your shoes OP.

Mind you, I'm honest to a fault- I can't even accept an extra quid in my change!

What the fuck? shock

Why would anyone think thats ok?

My uncle once laughed while telling us the restaurant had missed £50 worth of drinks off the bill. So they just didnt pay it. Disgusting.

TheArbiter Sat 26-Jan-13 17:50:32

Not legal, not OK.

AllYoursBabooshka Sat 26-Jan-13 17:52:11

My first thought is "Scumbags", Do they regularly steal things?

You are completely right it is wrong. I hope the staff don't pull innocent you up on this if you ever go back there.

toboldlygo Sat 26-Jan-13 17:52:38

It's theft.

Did the restaurant actually have full table/waiter service? For most pub/bar/informal type places I'd expect to have to go up and pay someone at the bar at the end of the meal, not necessarily have the bill brought to the table.

expatinscotland Sat 26-Jan-13 17:54:20

The ol' dine and dash. I thought that was something you did maybe once when you were 14 and skint and then wised up and realised it's theft and being a dick.

Callmedoe Sat 26-Jan-13 17:56:12

I've done it three times once in a bar, once in Pizza Hut and once in Morrisons. In the bar someone chased and down the road because we'd forgotten to pay, we coughed up naturally and were very embarrassed. In Pizza Hut we accidently paid the wrong amount and got chased into the car park, again coughed up. I'm ashamed to say though in Morrisons I didn't really until I looked at the reciept when I got home. So not a great track record but all innocent mistakes I can assure you.

I have considered leaving when I've asked for the bill, been presented it then been ignored for 20minutes so haven't been able to actually pay! angry it's happened 3 times in different places I'm starting to think its just me hmm

I've never done it though, it's theft. YANBU at all.

KatyTheCleaningLady Sat 26-Jan-13 17:58:45

I don't know how it works over here, and even in America it's illegal, but it's not uncommon for servers to be made to pay for walk-outs. I think it's common in America because servers make so many tips that they have pockets full of cash.

I have honestly forgotten to pay. Next time I was in they told me and I was mortified.

I was once tempted to leave because I'd asked for my cheque numerous times. What I did was get up and walk towards the door and said to the first employee I passed "If my waitress hasn't got the bill by the time I'm at the door, I'm leaving." She raced up with the bill and acted huffy, but I just gave her attitude... and no tip.

nefertarii Sat 26-Jan-13 17:58:50

I own a restaurant and its people like your friends that are making me consider selling it.

If people just acted like decent people, it would be fine.

We have had (since new year) a sink pulled of the wall, 2 groups leave without paying, had the police to another group that tried to leave, salt and pepper grinders stolen etc.

All this sort of stuff costs money and make my business less profitable. It also make me very depressed about society.

JourneyThroughLife Sat 26-Jan-13 18:02:35

It's theft, and it's wrong. I can see how it might play on your mind but you may be making things worse by going back and trying to pay for them (what if the bar thinks it was really you?) But I'd make a mental note not to go out with them again and, if the opportunity arose, explain to them that I thought what they did was wrong.

Did they open tab on their card? If so I believe that the restaurant can use their card details to claim the money this is what a bar I used to work in would do

HoHoHoNoYouDont Sat 26-Jan-13 18:04:20

I did it once. Three times we asked for the bill, explained we were in a hurry and that we had a flight to catch. We ended up just walking out because we were so pissed off with them.

TheCatIsEatingIt Sat 26-Jan-13 18:06:54

No! The only time I've ever walked out of anywhere, we were kept waiting over an hour and eventually given undercooked starters that weren't what we'd ordered. Even then we left money for the drinks we'd had.

lizzypuffs Sat 26-Jan-13 18:11:02

Thats awful. Its not big and its not funny as my sister might say. No ydnbu.

Tee2072 Sat 26-Jan-13 18:12:04

I have been tempted when I can't seem to get a waiter to take my money but I have never actually done it.

We did it once when a very drunk friend needed to be poured into a cab and everyone thought someone else had paid. We went back to offer to pay the next day but they had cashed up and said no. They got VERY well tipped every time we went there after that.

I wouldnt do it,. it is theft! However i do get annoyed when you ask for the bill, they bring it over and then they leave you for half an hour. my blood pressure goes through the roof.

i like those places where you pay first. <heathen> wink

Lastofthepodpeople Sat 26-Jan-13 18:19:40

Horrible thing to do. As others have said, the servers sometimes are made to pay (no idea if its legal here). Once when I was waitressing at 16, had to pay the bill for a couple who walked out. They'd drank a fortune in wine and I ended up having to work about a week for 'free' to cover it.

Lastofthepodpeople Sat 26-Jan-13 18:21:05

That was years ago in South Africa, probably not legal in the UK but its still taking something you haven't paid for.

Why did they do this?? shock

That is dishonest, and embarrassing. I would not go out with them again. If they ask you out, I would be honest and say no because it is embarrassing to be out for a meal with people who dont settle their bill, and you dont want their behaviour reflect badly on you.

HecateWhoopass Sat 26-Jan-13 18:27:17

That's shit of them.

Did they not say "can I have the bill please?"

That's normally what you do when you've finished.

How does the place know you're finished and leaving if you don't ask for the bill hmm

I think they're thieves.

FoxtrotFoxtrotSierra Sat 26-Jan-13 18:29:08

As everyone else says - it's theft! Someone else is paying for their meal, it could be the serving staff or it could be the owner of the restaurant. When I was a waitress our tips would be confiscated if we had people take off without paying - so other diners paid for people's meals instead of rewarding the staff.

Why are people so dishonest these days? It feels like nobody has morals anymore.

quoteunquote Sat 26-Jan-13 18:30:22

What is wrong with people,

nasty gits.

please do go any pay so you don't get tarred with the same brush,and some poor sod doesn't get their wages docked or get sacked, and find better friends.

TeamEdward Sat 26-Jan-13 18:45:36

I had a friend who worked in Pizza Express and was made to pay for "runners" out of his wages. No idea if this is a franchise-wide thing, or just a particularly nasty manager.

sundaesundae Sat 26-Jan-13 19:23:32

I used to work in a very busy hotel lounge on the M40, constantly used for business meetings. We would have at least one walk out a day and these people were usually on expenses!

I think leaving without paying for no reason is just plain wrong.

specialsubject Sat 26-Jan-13 19:26:45

right up there with the FB post I've just read about theft from a charity shop. Tell your friends to go back and pay. They are not 'lovely people'.

BumpingFuglies Sat 26-Jan-13 20:37:15

Good God no. That's thieving.

carlywurly Sat 26-Jan-13 20:38:42

Thanks all, and no we won't be going out with them again. We have plenty of other friends who wouldn't dream of behaving like this. Dp has just told me he overheard them putting drinks on there as well. angry It did and does make me cringe - I'm the type who puts coins in a charity box if I find them in the street. I've never nicked anything in my life.

Dp also got in 2 rounds of drinks which weren't reciprocated even though they got themselves some (clearly now we know how, we wouldn't have wanted them!) so they'd marked themselves out as round dodgers even before the great escape at the end of the night.

toomuch2young Sat 26-Jan-13 20:39:08

That's really sad.
Can't imagine anyone decent even thinking of doing that or that it could possibly be ok!

bumperella Sat 26-Jan-13 20:39:56

Agree: it's theft.
To do it by mistake is an embassassing accident, to say "I'm not prepared to pay for this food as it's inedibly bad so we've not eaten it" is OK, but to walk out without paying becuase you think you'll get away with it is just stealing.

mamalovesmojitos Sat 26-Jan-13 20:40:10

Never! And I wouldn't socialise with people who did.

manicinsomniac Sat 26-Jan-13 20:45:08

not intentionally, no. I've done it by accident three times - once I realised almost as soon as I'd left and went back, once I realised later that evening and went back the next day but the third time I realised that night but was 200 miles away by then so never went back. I do feel bad though.

MrsHoarder Sat 26-Jan-13 20:48:43

No! I've been tempted in pizza express when we'd been waiting for over an hour and asked for the bill multiple times (the conversation was actually "if we start putting our coats on do you think they'll let us pay"). But its stealing.

carlywurly Sat 26-Jan-13 20:52:15

We've had that in pizza express! I use the app now and pay by PayPal, otherwise they always keep you waiting ages to pay.

ZillionChocolate Sat 26-Jan-13 20:52:49


SomethingProfound Sat 26-Jan-13 21:33:16

The staff will probably of had to make it up.

I have worked in bars and restaurants for years and its common practice to make staff pay for walk outs.

Poor server, but also keep in mind they probably wont be forgotten, any walkouts I had when I was a manager I would get a picture off CCTV for the staff to see and they would be refused service if they tried to return in the future.

StickEmUp Sat 26-Jan-13 21:36:26


^ this.

God, that would really, really, really bother me yes! How awful.

DP and I once left a small cafe in Chichester and were walking up the street when we heard someone calling, and this poor woman from the cafe was chasing us.... because we'd forgotten to pay!
I've never been more mortified in my entire life! I'm so used to paying for things and then sitting down and eating it that I just hadn't even thought about it when we got up and left.
I can't even comprehend not paying on purpose!

Did your friends even ask for a bill? if not then how were the staff supposed to know they were ready for it???

Corygal Sat 26-Jan-13 21:40:31

I've done it with a friend by accident - we both assumed the other had paid. Cue enraged old lady storming out to shame us at 1000 decibels in the street - howling so loudly we couldnt work out what we'd done. Some people do take it rather seriously - not everyone is on the rob.

re: having to wait ages after you've been given the bill. We tend to just take bill and payment up to the till and ask whoever is there to take the payment. It's annoying, but at least you don't have to sit around waiting for ages

Iaintdunnuffink Sat 26-Jan-13 21:45:30

Whats this about an app for Pizza Express?? You can pay in the restaurant by Pay Pal?

Iaintdunnuffink Sat 26-Jan-13 21:50:29

Omg I've googled, what a great idea. I'm going to campaign for an EU law to make apps like this compulsory in all restaurants. I've spend longer in France waiting to pay than eating the bloody meal.

ilovesooty Sat 26-Jan-13 22:02:58

They are generally lovely people


carlywurly Sat 26-Jan-13 22:14:17

Ilovesooty, yes - they are. I work with one of them and they're really sweet and well regarded. This was totally unexpected. I'm not normally a bad judge of character but I've obviously missed something here. hmm

Naoko Sat 26-Jan-13 22:26:33

Absolutely not. But I did once walk out between ordering food and it arriving (so although they were presumably cooking our food, I hadn't eaten any of it). I'd never normally but first they took 20 minutes to acknowledge we were there and bring us a menu, then the waiter was rude, then the food took forever to arrive despite me asking politely what was going on. An hour after ordering, with no food in sight and no waiter willing to speak to me, I walked.

pigletmania Sat 26-Jan-13 23:54:05

Noway that is awful. I wuld not go out with them again

hrrumph Sat 26-Jan-13 23:56:20

No. I'd think of those people working there.

Bit like not paying your trainfare. It affects all the workers in one way or another.

Simple theft.

plantsitter Sun 27-Jan-13 00:03:21

I remember a friend and I eating in a little chef once where the service was so bad that a group of about 12 including a man with a cast on his leg and crutches escaped without paying! The staff had all pretty much disappeared. However, having scruples and nowhere in particular to be me & friend waited around until someone to pay turned up.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 27-Jan-13 00:06:06

No. When a place is busy/when staff don't want to perceived as "rushing" customers they won't just chuck the bill at you. They wait for you to indicate you want to pay and leave.

Your friends quite blatantly stole from the restaurant.

ripsishere Sun 27-Jan-13 00:16:23

We did it once in Devon. We had gone to a pub in a group (around 12), had a drink and starter in one part of the bar, were moved to a separate restaurant and ate and drank some more. We all put money in the middle for what we imagined the total would be but no body came. person who was nominated driver took the money with the intention of going to the front of the pub. In a genuinel mix up we left without paying. Couldn't find the pub the next day so all the money went into the RNLI collection box. It was a diving weekend.
I did actually try to leave yesterday without paying for something. Another genuine mistake. Me and DD met DH at a cafe place over the road to his school. She and I had a kebab from the man who has a stand just outside the door to this particular place. DH had a different type from inside. I paid the bill, and we started to leave. Outside kebab man came over, very apologetically and asked for his money. I was mortified.

Startail Sun 27-Jan-13 00:19:50

Had I not had my totally law abiding DH with me.

I would have walked out of the restaurant in Portugal that took an hour to give us the bill. They knew we were waiting.

It was one of the pay for your fish by weight places so I didn't know how much to leave DD1 was bored out of her wits and DD2was asleep. I couldn't believe anyone would leave DCs of about 5 and 7 hanging about that long.

Been on holiday to Majorca lots of times and yes they are very laid back, but they understand that asking for the bill means you'd like to move on,

FreePeaceSweet Sun 27-Jan-13 00:27:58

You are going to pull them up on this aren't you? I'm not saying that doing it to a chain restaurant lessens the theft but they can absorb these losses better. I've seen this done at a restaurant no bigger than a terraced house that had only 4 dining tables. I'd be tempted to lie and say you went back and paid as your conscience was eating you up. Can you have the money back please? If they pay you call the restaurant and pay. If they don't then fuck them off. Its not as if they can call the restaurant up for proof is it?

joanofarchitrave Sun 27-Jan-13 00:48:06

No, because I try not to be a thief.

In periods of my life when I have eaten out, I have regularly ended up standing up and putting my coat on to make the wait staff bring the bill, but that's one of the reasons I found I didn't really miss eating out that much when I got less rich and I've no doubt they didn't miss me much either.

DeepRedBetty Sun 27-Jan-13 01:07:02

Ex BF and I forgot to pay once at Rick Stein's restaurant in Padstow, we were most of the way back to our b&b when we remembered. Went back to pay.

The downer was that I spent rest of night vomming. Thought it was their food, took three more seafood meals to discover I'd developed an intolerance to crab sad.

Thing is, I can't believe anyone would do that, but some people just have a totally different set of morals when it comes to this stuff.

I bought a few bits from a high street chain shop before meeting XP from work. It wasn't till after we'd met up that I realised they hadn't charged me for a £35 handbag! I went back to pay and XP got really huffy. He just couldn't understand why I was bothered, since it was from a chain store. I tried to explain that stock in these places is all checked and accounted for, so it;ll go down as a loss and staff may be blamed and besides it is STEALING and I am not a thief, but he wasn't having any of it.

He works for the police angry

ZillionChocolate Sun 27-Jan-13 09:11:26

Even restaurants branded as a chain might be run as franchises.

I don't really agree that chains can tolerate it better so it's not so bad. Yes, 100 restaurants collectively can cope with one walk out better but if it's one walk out per restaurant per week or whatever, then it's the same problem. Given that there seems to be an attitude of "oh well, it's tesco/pizza express/other big company, they can afford it", I wonder whether they fare worse.

carlywurly Sun 27-Jan-13 11:43:38

The whole thing is making my blood boil now. I was stunned into silence at the time, but will think about how I can broach it without creating a bad atmosphere at work.

It makes me really sad at the state of people's morals too, we also recently had to ditch another work "friend" who cheerily told us how she'd gone through a senior colleagues personal stuff and payslips while babysitting at her house. Wtf is wrong with these people?

freddiefrog Sun 27-Jan-13 11:58:24

We managed to leave a cafe without paying once - general confusion with kids needing wees, carpark ticket running out, DH thinking I'd paid and vice versa. We realised when we got home and DH drove back down to pay.

The cafe owner gave us a £10 voucher he was so surprised we'd bothered to come back

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