Applebee waitress fired

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new guy

Columbus, OH

#1 Feb 1, 2013
Applebee's waitress canned after posting pastor's tip

The receipt shows that Alois Bell scratched out the 18% tip.

A waitress at an Applebee’s in the St. Louis area who got stiffed on a tip and posted the receipt online was fired on Wednesday after the customer complained to management.

The server, Chelsea Welch, told Yahoo! News she was surprised that she was "fired for ‘embarrassing’ someone who directly insults their server on religious grounds.”

Welch had waited on a large party hosted by Pastor Alois Bell of the World Deliverance Ministries Church in Granite City, Ill. As is common at many restaurants, an 18 percent tip was automatically added to the bill.

Pastor bell crossed out the automatic tip and wrote “0” on the receipt, along with this message:“I give God 10% why do you get 18?”

The waitress took a photo of the bill and uploaded it to Reddit where it soon went viral.

“I thought the note was insulting, but it was also comical,” Welch told TheConsumerist.“I posted it to Reddit because I thought other users would find it entertaining.”

Bell, who did not see the humor in this, complained to the restaurant’s manager. Bell told The Smoking Gun she did not expect her signature to be all over the Internet.

Applebee’s confirms that Welch was fired. In a statement, the company says:

“Our Guests’ personal information – including their meal check – is private, and neither Applebee’s nor its franchisees have a right to share this information publicly. We value our Guests’ trust above all else. Our franchisee has apologized to the Guest and has taken disciplinary action with the Team Member for violating their Guest’s right to privacy. This individual is no longer employed by the franchisee.”

Pastor Bell told The Smoking Gun she is sorry for what happened and points out that she left a $6.29 cash tip on the table.

“My heart is really broken,” she told them.“I’ve brought embarrassment to my church and my ministry.”

Welch told Yahoo! News she is shocked she was fired. But even more shocked by Bell's message.

“I come home exhausted, sore, burnt, dirty and blistered on a good day,” she said in her email to Yahoo!“I’ve been stiffed on tips before, but this if the first time I’ve seen the Big Man used as reasoning.”

What do you think? Did this waitress deserve to be fired?

Herb Weisbaum is The ConsumerMan. Follow him on Facebook and Twitteror visit The ConsumerMan website
Little Green Man

Reynoldsburg, OH

#2 Feb 1, 2013
new guy wrote:
What do you think? Did this waitress deserve to be fired?
Yes!

Though the comment was unnecessary and a bit rude what waitress Chelsea Welch did was flat out wrong. The customer left an 18% cash tip at the table so Welch really had nothing to gripe about except a flippant remark.

“Hi-Yo Silver! Away!”

Since: Aug 12

Location hidden

#3 Feb 1, 2013
Little Green Man wrote:
<quoted text>
Yes!
Though the comment was unnecessary and a bit rude what waitress Chelsea Welch did was flat out wrong. The customer left an 18% cash tip at the table so Welch really had nothing to gripe about except a flippant remark.
If she left a $6.29 tip that was 18% of the bill, that means the bill was only $34.94. Yet the story says this was a large party. I think you have reading comprehension problems.

Pastor or not, just another cheapskate customer stiffing a hard-working server. I think more of these customers should be called out publicly for being cheap. If you can't tip at least 20%, then stay home. Plus, the mandatory 18% tip is store policy, if you don't agree with it, stay home.
Little Green Man

Reynoldsburg, OH

#4 Feb 1, 2013
Kemosahbe wrote:
<quoted text>
If she left a $6.29 tip that was 18% of the bill, that means the bill was only $34.94. Yet the story says this was a large party. I think you have reading comprehension problems.
Pastor or not, just another cheapskate customer stiffing a hard-working server. I think more of these customers should be called out publicly for being cheap. If you can't tip at least 20%, then stay home. Plus, the mandatory 18% tip is store policy, if you don't agree with it, stay home.
It's not about reading comprehension, it's about actual experiences and observations. You obviously don't know how black people, especially black women, dine out. If there are 15 in the party there will be 15 separate checks. Pastor Bell's check came to $34.93. 18% is $6.29 which she says she left in cash at the table. Waitress Chelsea Welch did not get stiffed, she got insulted. As for your 20% gratuity suggestion, you are awful free with other people's money. Are you a lib?

“Hi-Yo Silver! Away!”

Since: Aug 12

Location hidden

#5 Feb 1, 2013
Little Green Man wrote:
<quoted text>
It's not about reading comprehension, it's about actual experiences and observations. You obviously don't know how black people, especially black women, dine out. If there are 15 in the party there will be 15 separate checks. Pastor Bell's check came to $34.93. 18% is $6.29 which she says she left in cash at the table. Waitress Chelsea Welch did not get stiffed, she got insulted. As for your 20% gratuity suggestion, you are awful free with other people's money. Are you a lib?
So the pastor didn't pick up the whole check? How is that Christian?

20% is standard these days. I guess since I live in the here and now and not in the 1950s like you, that makes me a lib.

“animis opibusque parati”

Since: Oct 12

Location hidden

#6 Feb 1, 2013
Kemosahbe wrote:
<quoted text>
So the pastor didn't pick up the whole check? How is that Christian?
20% is standard these days. I guess since I live in the here and now and not in the 1950s like you, that makes me a lib.
R-A-A-A-C-I-S-T!
VADoc

Aiken, SC

#7 Feb 1, 2013
I think she should have been fired for posting Ms. Bell's private info, but I think Ms. Bell did a crappy thing.

If you don't want to pay the 18% gratuity then stay home or go in smaller groups.

I used to work as a waiter in high school. I hated when people did stuff like Ms. Bell. If you don't want to tip fine, your choice, but to basically demean someone like that and then act like you're Christian is insulting.

I always tip well. I often give 30% or more depending on how things are. When my wife and I go into the restaurants we frequent many of the waiters and waitresses know us, know what we drink, and actually fight for our table because we tip well.

Do you tip the cooks? I know when I go places like wafflehouse or huddle house I tip the waitress and the cook.

I agree with other people you don't have to tip a lot but a little is just a simple gesture of kindness. If you don't want to tip then don't go out or call for take out.
Little Green Man

Reynoldsburg, OH

#8 Feb 1, 2013
Kemosahbe wrote:
<quoted text>
So the pastor didn't pick up the whole check? How is that Christian?
20% is standard these days. I guess since I live in the here and now and not in the 1950s like you, that makes me a lib.
Do you tip 20% for poor service? If you do you're an idiot. If your standard is 20% how much do you tip for exceptional service? I'm thinking you're full of shit and talking big just to hear your own voice.
Mike

Zephyrhills, FL

#9 Feb 1, 2013
Bible thumping ape
Bin Laden

Columbus, OH

#10 Feb 1, 2013
Blacks do not tip well anyway, so is country people they are penny pinchers.
Adif understanding

United States

#11 Feb 1, 2013
I find this completely interesting that people think it is worth challenging someone's belief in Christ because of it. Nowhere in any religious christian book that I have read does it say you are obligated to tip someone or pay someone in excess of the bill for services or materials rendered. Is this one of those new age concepts that simply weren't in the King James version of the bible?

To those questioning this guys devotion or religion, you really have no clue what you are talking about. It seems like you are just b because butt hurt and grasping for anything because you don't like the fact that the tip was less then expected.

“Queen of my domain”

Since: May 10

Location hidden

#12 Feb 1, 2013
Cheap preacher who probably tells her flock to give until it hurts. Personally, not sure the waitress should be fired. Read a few accounts of this story and it doesn't appear as if the waitress actually outed her and identified the pastor personally, appears she did what she could to obfuscate the identity of the pastor and to voice her frustration with the pastor.

The pastor engaged in some seriously BAD behavior IMHO by whining basically the waitress didn't deserve a tip! Cheapskate!

I always tip at least 20%, more if there was alcohol served or if superior service provided or if I had asked for some special service. Always treat these people well because face it: they're handling your food, they remember faces very well, and they bust butt on the job. And they don't make minimum wage.

Since: Oct 10

Location hidden

#13 Feb 1, 2013
gokeefe wrote:
Cheap preacher who probably tells her flock to give until it hurts. Personally, not sure the waitress should be fired. Read a few accounts of this story and it doesn't appear as if the waitress actually outed her and identified the pastor personally, appears she did what she could to obfuscate the identity of the pastor and to voice her frustration with the pastor.
The pastor engaged in some seriously BAD behavior IMHO by whining basically the waitress didn't deserve a tip! Cheapskate!
I always tip at least 20%, more if there was alcohol served or if superior service provided or if I had asked for some special service. Always treat these people well because face it: they're handling your food, they remember faces very well, and they bust butt on the job. And they don't make minimum wage.
The thing I really can't figure out is it's been stated that it was a "large/big party." In most cases these are booked in advance and the restaurant advises that a 18% to 20% gratuity will be added to the bill. If you go ahead and make the reservation,and then change the tip, you've breached an oral contract.

Waitresses work very hard and, in lots of cases, their tips are split with bus boys, etc. And with the economy like it is, service people are hurting.

As for the Pastor, WWJD? Should be settle the question.

“Queen of my domain”

Since: May 10

Location hidden

#14 Feb 1, 2013
Seriouslady wrote:
<quoted text>
The thing I really can't figure out is it's been stated that it was a "large/big party." In most cases these are booked in advance and the restaurant advises that a 18% to 20% gratuity will be added to the bill. If you go ahead and make the reservation,and then change the tip, you've breached an oral contract.
Waitresses work very hard and, in lots of cases, their tips are split with bus boys, etc. And with the economy like it is, service people are hurting.
As for the Pastor, WWJD? Should be settle the question.
Not necessarily so for places like Applebee's. My kids have worked at Applebee's, Don Pablos, and a few other similar places in college or immediately post-college waiting table or tending bar. They cleaned up with tips. But if a large party of six or more just walks in (and it does happen--say after work gathering) they can and will add the automatic gratuity for a few reasons--one is these parties often tie up tables longer than the couple with a kid or two or grandma out for a bite after church.

Really, what is the problem with the automatic gratuity in situations like that? Large tables tend to make a waitress run more, work more, and the table is tied up longer, meaning the waitress doesn't have as much volume to depend upon for her tips in her station.

You're right. WWJD should have solved this situation for this clueless one!
Adif understanding

United States

#15 Feb 1, 2013
If the gratuity surcharge was noticed to them before seating, I could agree it would be an obligation. However, the waitress should have taken this to the management and had them take care of it. If there isn't an obvious notice about the gratuity, then it really is a courtesy to tip and not an obligation to pay any over the advertised costs plus applicable taxes.

But if there is no notice provided before hand, then there isn't much of a leg to stand on. I used to work restaurants years ago and we always had a large church crowd. They would come in and eat the free stuff, order a drink, some got plain water but wanted 200 refills and sit there talking for an hour after we officially closed. You could literally run the sweeper around them and get dirty looks but they wouldn't budge. Tips were typically next to nothing if anything was left and out of 10 to fifteen people, their combined bill was probably less then $20.

They knew a gratuity of 15% would have been charge for tables larger then six tops so they would get six tops and pull them together on their own as if they owned the place. This was over 25 years ago so your mileage may be different today.

Anyways, from what I remember, it sucked having them there. But we always took problems up with the management, we didn't discuss our griefs with the customer or other patrons. The internet wasn't around back then, but I'm sure I would be fired too if I found the equivalent of posting it online.
VADoc

Duluth, GA

#16 Feb 2, 2013
Adif understanding wrote:
If the gratuity surcharge was noticed to them before seating, I could agree it would be an obligation. However, the waitress should have taken this to the management and had them take care of it. If there isn't an obvious notice about the gratuity, then it really is a courtesy to tip and not an obligation to pay any over the advertised costs plus applicable taxes.
But if there is no notice provided before hand, then there isn't much of a leg to stand on. I used to work restaurants years ago and we always had a large church crowd. They would come in and eat the free stuff, order a drink, some got plain water but wanted 200 refills and sit there talking for an hour after we officially closed. You could literally run the sweeper around them and get dirty looks but they wouldn't budge. Tips were typically next to nothing if anything was left and out of 10 to fifteen people, their combined bill was probably less then $20.
They knew a gratuity of 15% would have been charge for tables larger then six tops so they would get six tops and pull them together on their own as if they owned the place. This was over 25 years ago so your mileage may be different today.
Anyways, from what I remember, it sucked having them there. But we always took problems up with the management, we didn't discuss our griefs with the customer or other patrons. The internet wasn't around back then, but I'm sure I would be fired too if I found the equivalent of posting it online.
I know what you mean. When I was a high school student I hated waiting tables on Sunday morning and afternoon. The after and before church crowd were some of the most rude and cheap people. They would do many of the things you stated and would often never leave a tip. The drunks and young people on Saturday and Friday evenings often tipped better. Quite sad.

“Queen of my domain”

Since: May 10

Location hidden

#17 Feb 2, 2013
Adif understanding wrote:
If the gratuity surcharge was noticed to them before seating, I could agree it would be an obligation. However, the waitress should have taken this to the management and had them take care of it. If there isn't an obvious notice about the gratuity,
Most restaurants state this explicitly somewhere, often on the menu. It's a pretty well-known practice and often automatically included when the bill is rung up. They do take count of the number of persons in a party when the party is seated and the bill is opened... I've read enough of my restaurant bills to know that! I'm not so quick to blame the waitress here because she did not reveal the pastor's identity online and the 18% gratuity is standard at Applebee's. I've eaten there enough to realize that.

Sometimes, the customer is NOT always right but sometimes just a cheapskate.
Adif understanding

Chicago, IL

#18 Feb 2, 2013
gokeefe wrote:
<quoted text>
Most restaurants state this explicitly somewhere, often on the menu. It's a pretty well-known practice and often automatically included when the bill is rung up. They do take count of the number of persons in a party when the party is seated and the bill is opened... I've read enough of my restaurant bills to know that! I'm not so quick to blame the waitress here because she did not reveal the pastor's identity online and the 18% gratuity is standard at Applebee's. I've eaten there enough to realize that.
Sometimes, the customer is NOT always right but sometimes just a cheapskate.
I understand this is a common practice and I understand it varies from place to place too. My point was that it has to be obvious and noticeable to the customer in order for it not to fail consumer protection laws. You simply cannot have an unwritten policy that some people know about that changes the menu cost of a $10 dinner plate,$2 dollar drink, and a $5 dollar appetizer from the advertised price of $17 dollars plus tax to $20.06 plus tax without notifying the consumer of the price difference first. I went to applebee's website and can find no reference to the automatic gratuity, when I go to their restaurants, I generally sit in the bar and order appetizers or whatever the special is so I do not know if this notice is post somewhere or if they notify the party when asking for the table or how they do it if it is even a company policy.

Also, the waitress is to blame not because of the automatic gratuity but because she posted the situation online. It should have been reported to her managers so the management could take care of the public relations. Instead, she decided to be the applebee's public relations department and trash her customer in public. I also think the customer was very rude and out of line.

But lets look at this another way. Suppose you owned an auto body shop and one of your employees started a website and complained about how stupid your customers are. Does that employee have the right to influence the image of your business outside the control of your business or did they cross a line? I say they crossed a line and if they got fired or disciplined, it would be their own fault.

The waitress was wrong for posting it. She should have resolved the issue through the management of the restaurant. If it was policy, the manager could have corrected the customer, reimbursed the waitress with company funds, or barred their return which would likely have made everyone's life at the restaurant better. You simply cannot trash talk the customers of someone else' business and expect to keep your job whether you identify the customer or not.

“Hi-Yo Silver! Away!”

Since: Aug 12

Location hidden

#19 Feb 2, 2013
Little Green Man wrote:
<quoted text>
Do you tip 20% for poor service? If you do you're an idiot. If your standard is 20% how much do you tip for exceptional service? I'm thinking you're full of shit and talking big just to hear your own voice.
Go find the thread I started some months ago about tipping. My whole story's there.

You get MUCH better service by being a good tipper. If you're too cheap to step up, go to McDonald's.

“Hi-Yo Silver! Away!”

Since: Aug 12

Location hidden

#20 Feb 2, 2013
-tip- wrote:
<quoted text>
R-A-A-A-C-I-S-T!
Quit embarrassing yourself, fool.

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