First rule of American restaurant etiquette: If you can’t afford to tip the wait staff, you can’t afford to eat there. Second rule: If you ignore the first rule and stiff your waiter anyway, admitting you’re a selfish cheapskate is better than pretending it’s somehow a higher calling.
Pastor Alois Bell ignited an Internet firestorm when she broke both rules at a St. Louis-area Applebee’s on Jan. 25. Like most restaurants these days, Applebee’s adds an automatic 18 percent tip to the bill when eight or more people eat together. Bell decided her waiter didn’t deserve such generous payment, so she crossed the gratuity out of the receipt, replaced the amount with “zero” and added a note: “I give God 10% — why do you get 18?” She also wrote “pastor” on the receipt, presumably by way of explanation.
On Jan, 29, an Applebee's waitress posted the receipt in a new thread on Reddit’s r/atheism page with the sardonic headline “My mistake sir, I’m sure Jesus will pay for my rent and groceries.”
The Consumerist blog picked up the story from Reddit, and multiple mainstream sites picked up the story from the Consumerist. By the next day, the story had officially gone viral. According to an interview with the Smoking Gun, Bell apparently spoke to Applebee's management about her newfound Internet infamy the next day, and Applebee's told her that the waitress who posted the receipt on Reddit had been fired. She also said that her original comments on the receipt were a “lapse in my character and judgment.”
The Internet appears to agree, but is appalled by news of the waitress's firing. The story exploded on Twitter and, as of press time, the luckless person responsible for posting on Applebee’s corporate Twitter feed appears to be in serious damage control mode.
Photo via Reddit