COMMENTARY | When Jasmine Marks and family went out to eat at the La Fisherman Restaurant on Highway 6 in west Houston, she felt the service wasn't satisfactory. And, according to a report from MSNBC, rather than telling the manager, she contested the gratuity added to her bill for parties of five or more -- a policy clearly printed at the bottom of the restaurant's menu -- and found herself in hot water quick.
Now, I've had some bad service in my life too. So I can understand Ms. Marks' dissatisfaction with what she feels is a bad experience.
But in such cases, diners should notify management of the problem at the time, rather than wait until checkout and use a complaint as a convenient excuse to circumvent company policy -- or to "get even" with a server they feel is unsatisfactory.
When Jasmine Marks went to pay her bill, she tried to argue her way out of the mandatory gratuity of 17 percent added to the bill. Rather than back off in the face of an upset customer, Marks says the managers locked the group in the restaurant (effectively placing them under citizen's arrest) and called Houston Police. No information is available as to whether the restaurant management is charged with false imprisonment. But it seems clear that, if a customer uses a company's services, they agree to policies stated clearly on the menu. Granted, nobody else can ever really know all the details of this customer's experience. But to whine to the local news about having to pay her bill, this just seems petty of her.
Add to the fact of a posted company policy for parties of five or more, I've also worked as a server myself. It's a difficult line of work to say the least. Customers stiff servers on tips for everything from mistakes made by the cook to management having the air conditioning set wrong, to how they look and even whether they're male or female.
Most customers in a restaurant are just wonderful. But on any given night, one or two will come in who are just abusive and unreasonable.
Even the local Better Business Bureau's local representative, Dan Parson, says a customer needs to pay attention to posted company policy before placing their order. It seems perhaps the Ms. Marks needs to pay attention and quit whining about paying the bill when it arrives.
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