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Couple arrested after refusing to leave a tip


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Leslie Pope and John Wagner were handcuffed and hauled away after they failed to leave a restaurant's mandatory 18 per cent gratuity - totalling $16 (£10) - for their party of eight.

"Nobody wants to be forced to pay a tip or be arrested for terrible service," said Miss Pope, 22.

The couple, students at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, had joined six friends at the town's Lehigh Pub for dinner. They claimed they had to wait almost an hour for their meal to arrive and Miss Pope said the service was so shoddy they had to get their own cutlery and napkins.

The group said they had to repeatedly ask for drink refills while their waitress smoked outside the pub.

At the end of the meal of salad and chicken wings, they were presented with a $73.87 bill. A $16.35 tip had been added as there was eight people in the party.

The group paid for the meal, but did not leave a tip. Mr Wagner, 24, said he explained to the manager why he was not leaving a tip.

The restaurant's owner admitted that the group had waited an unusually long time for their food, but said the pub had been very busy that night. He said managers offered to give the table a discount for some of the food, a claim the couple denied.

The restaurant called the police, and Miss Pope and Mr Wagner were led away in handcuffs.

Read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/...restaurant.html

Bruce

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ASTONISHING!

I've always thought T.I.P.S. meant "to insure prompt service." I guess I got that wrong. Or was it the legal establishment that got it wrong?

I've never had what it took to walk out without leaving a tip. I really don't care for those who suggest walking out leaving a Lincoln portrait face side up. In the face of bad service, I simply leave a 10% tip. And don't return.

I think the locals consider me a "good tipper" (not extravagant), and they have gone out of their way to accommodate my special, temporary needs (walking difficulties). A special tip allowance comes their way for that. They deserve it; I appreciate it.

What goes around comes around, but what does the government have to do with it?

The delivery of poor service is the responsibility of the business owner. It is up to him to deal with it. Not the police.

Regards,

Warren

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The restaurant appears to have taken the position for parties of 8 or over the tip is added to the bill (as many restaurants do), so not paying the bill is a police problem. I think this was mishandled by the restaurant, but hard to say without hearing all sides.

Bruce

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If I owned a hot dog cart I wouldn't call the police over a $16.35 tip.The bouncer would deal with it.

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There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved. - Ludwig von Mises

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UPDATE:

Bethlehem Township police dropped theft charges against two college students who refused to leave a tip at a Lehigh Valley restaurant for what they said was lousy service.

John Wagner, 24 and Leslie Pope, 22, were hauled off to jail and charged with theft last month after they refused to pay a $16.35 mandatory service fee charged by the Lehigh Pub on East Fourth Street. The couple only paid $73.87 of the $90.22 bill.

The pair, who ate at the now infamous pub with six of their friends, claimed they waited more than an hour for their order. Pope claimed she had to go to the bar to get her drink refilled and pick up her own silverware.

Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli said Pope and her friend were right and recommended to Bethlehem police that the charges against the couple be dropped, according to the Allentown Morning Call.

“It would not be the kind of case that should be processed criminally, Morganelli told the paper. “It was one of those matters that should be processed civilly.”

Pope, who has interviewed with media outlets across the country, told The Express Times, she is grateful she has be vindicated and looks forward to her day in court.

“It’s been six days. It didn’t take long,” she said.

The case captured national attention and bought into question whether customers should pay a tip regardless of the level of service they receive.

NBCPhiladelphia.com received more than 3 million hits for the couple's story alone and more than 2,000 viewers left their comments about the incident.

An attorney for the Lehigh Pub said he was a bit surprised by the news.

“We do not agree with the facts as presented in the press last week. Sheenan told the Morning Call. “This is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Bethlehem Police Department, not Lehigh Pub, and we will defer to them as the legal process plays out.”

Both Pope and Wagner are expected to appear on CNN Tuesday.

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A tip is a gratuity and not payment for food and drink so I don't get the logic of the arrests. There must be a law on the books that allow the matter to be treated as a misdemeanor/criminal offense.

Lawsuit!

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Thanks for posting the follow-up Paul. Mac, I agree but I suppose the argument that the restaurant will make is that since the stated policy of the restaurant is to add the gratuity for parties of a certain size, that you are agreeing to pay the gratuity if you order a meal there? So if you fail to pay the gratuity, which is now no longer actually a gratuity but more a service charge, then you are robbing the place. This whole thing makes me think that if the restaurant wants to auto-add a fee it needs to be called that and not a tip.

Bruce

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What about the other 6.... did they just dine, dash and leave their two fiends there to go to jail? With friends like that who needs an enema!

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Greg

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What about the other 6.... did they just dine, dash and leave their two fiends there to go to jail? With friends like that who needs an enema!

:lol: Last one out gets the bill in College towns?

Bruce

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