Let's talk about those two servers who were shot at, one grazed by a bullet to the head, after chasing restaurant patrons who skated on their Joe's Crab Shack bill in Fisherman's Wharf. The report from CBS 5 states:
[A] group of four people were eating at Joe's Crab Shack at 245 Jefferson Street around 10 p.m. on Sunday. Two women in the group got up and left, followed shortly by the man and a 17-year old male. All left without paying.
The SFPD said two female servers followed the two males for several blocks before confronting them in the 600 block of Bay Street. That is when police said 36-year-old Marcel Waldron allegedly turned around, brandished a gun, and shot at the workers.
Two female servers pursued to male customers for several blocks? Then confronted them? Does this seem unequivocally dangerous to anyone?
Please note that these servers worked for a chain restaurant, Joe's Crab Shack. I point this out because I spent many years working for chain restaurants as I put myself through college. It was a soul-sucking experience in many regards. I felt my spirit crushed when I was working those jobs because, despite being paid $2.13 an hour by the company, servers were expected to do things like clean off the clock on their day off or work for ten hours without a break. I was also told, by more than one chain eatery, that if anyone "dined and dashed" on their tab that I was responsible for the bill.
Restaurants say this for a reason. It would be very easy for any server anywhere to pocket the cash left by a table of four then claim that the diners skated on the tab. The managers informed us that those diners were our resposibility, and that if they managed to take off without paying then we were not in control of our sections and did not deserve to work on the floor. And people did skate. It didn't happen very often, but sometimes. It was mostly kids. Or the occasional con artist. But every time I saw it happen the server from that table would bolt out the door looking for the cheapskate. Rarely did they catch up to them, but sometimes they did. Personally, I confronted a man who skated on his tab and he acted as though it totally slipped his mind, then he paid up. But he could have reacted any number of ways, which is made obvious by this account.
So, I have to wonder if the managers at Joe's Crab Shack encouraged those servers to confront the diners who dashed. It was pretty much a mandate at the places I worked. And I can't help but think that asking servers to take on those people--off the premises--is dangerous. (There was always debate amongst the server staff as to whether making servers pay for meals that went unpaid was even legal.) I thought of calling the restaurant to ask if they ordered those servers to confront the guy who shot at them, but I doubt I would make much headway.
Any of you ever work in restaurants that encouraged this behavior? It's not something the public at large would know about, but ex-servers are plentiful. Speak up in the comments and let me know your experience with this, if any.