Restaraunt tip: was this ok, or not?

My fiance and I ate at a restaraunt on Sunday, and I will admit, we each had two beers.

The bill came to $42.80, and I left the waitress (who was ok, but not great) an $8.00 tip.

When I added up the credit card slip, I mis-calculated and wrote down $52.80 as the total (yes, my own stupid mistake).

When I checked my bank statement today, I see two charges from the restaraunt. One for $42.80, another for $10. Apparently, the waitress took advantage of my addition error and boosted her tip by an extra $2.

I know $2 isn’t a big deal, but personally it chaps my butt that she did that when the tip amount clearly stated $8. To me, to take an extra $2 that clearly wasn’t intended is pretty much, well, theft.

What does The Dope think?

I’d say you signed a check for $52.80, so that’s what you agreed to pay. What the restaurant does with the extra money is up to them. They may have thought you made the error on the tip amount rather than the total. They may have had a big laugh at the guy who is bad at math. It’s two dollars. Be more careful next time.

Your error left her to interpret what your true intentions were. She could have assumed that you were more than expecting your total bill to be $52.80, which would mean that you put the tip amount in error.

Your bad.

Ex-restaurant manager here.

My policy was to go by whatever was written in the tip line, because there are, unfortunately, a lot of people that can’t add (not a slight against you, just a general observation). More often than not, the total written in would have resulted in a smaller tip, so this policy was usually beneficial to the employee.

The server in your case was clearly taking advantage. In my place, a manager-type would go over an employee’s “check-out”, so it’s possible that the manager is the one who took advantage.

I’m kind of curious why the restaurant would run the tip through as a separate charge…

YOU are the one who decides on the tip amount, not the waitress!! It could have been an honest mistake where she just typed in the amount wrong, but it sure does look bad.

I’ve started leaving my tips in cash to avoid any such issues when they run the card again for the tip amount.

I’m a server now, and I’ve had this happen several times. It is shocking how bad some folks are at math. To give an example, I had a bill that was say $12.88, in the tip line was $3.00, what they wrote in the total line? $17.92. We put in whatever the tip amount is, therefore, although he agreed to pay $17.92, we processed it as $15.88.

I wouldn’t necessarily blame the waitress. I have no idea how they process the cards at the end of the night, a manager may have done it to make his numbers add up.

BTW, cash tips are greatly appreciated. You don’t pay interest on the tip and we can declare a tad more or less at the end of the shift. Or as one of our girls remarks after and especially credit cardy day “Uncle Sam is all up in my bidness today.”

I think it would have been better if she ran it as $8, but I don’t think it’s fair to call this theft. Theft is taking something without permission, you filled out the total line for $52.80 and signed the receipt.

Where did you eat where beers are $10.70 each??

I often add the tip mentally then round up the number, writing in the total before figuring out what the exact tip is (then writing it in). If I made a mistake with the tip I’d expect them to charge me the total amount I agreed to pay by signing.

It could be a matter of technicality, as well. Perhaps the accountant only runs two numbers: the restaurant’s cut and the total amount authorized. Whatever’s left over goes to the waitress, for better or for worse. I can imagine quite a few restaurant managers or hired number crunchers not really giving a damn about the staff gravy.

Current restaurant manager here and this is the standard policy with the company I work for. What is written on the tip line is never to be changed no matter how bad the customer’s math may be. And any server who did this is clearly taking advantage. In my place, anyone caught doing this would stand a good chance of losing their job.

When the card is swiped for the total, the bank issues an approval code for that amount. Then after the customer signs and writes in a tip the server enters the tip and a second approval code is issued for that amount. When looking at an online
statement it often looks like two separate transactions. I’ve even known of situations
where it looks like you have been charged twice for the full amount of the bill. Believe me, those are fun phone calls.

As a long-time accounting clerk, I can vouch for this - if my job was processing the total amount of the bill, then subtracting what the restaurant charged for the bill, I probably wouldn’t be doing any further calculations - what was left would be the server’s tip, regardless of what was written in the tip line. Course, if I was doing accounting for a restaurant, they may have a policy of using the amount written in the tip line and going from there, in which case I would reduce the total amount processed to what you intended. I could see it going either way depending on company policy. I wouldn’t call the server a thief, though, either way.

Long time server checking in.

In nearly every job I’ve worked (but not all), we were instructed to charge you for whatever you’ve written as the total. When you sign the slip, that’s the amount you agree to pay. Sometimes this works to my advantage; in a comparable amount of times, it works to my disadvantage.

The only times I have ever not charged what was in the totals row were times when the error was SO glaring as to be laughable. The customer added an extra two zeroes or something, resulting in a thousand dollar tip.

People are not careful with their sums in dark places after several glasses of wine.

Math challenged/phobic, whatver you wanna call it here!
I usually just round up about 20% of the total & only complete the “total” line on the credit card slip, leaving the tip amount line empty & letting them do the math. I figure I’m more likely to make a mistake & rip off the server if I try to do the math down to the penny. (Occasionally you find the tip percentages figured out for you on the bottom of receipt, but I don’t see that too often.) For servers/restaurant workers, is this an ok practice? :smack:

I do this all the time. I put zeroes on the cc slip then slip the waitperson the cash. It recently backfired when I dined at a friend’s bistro. She (the owner) saw the zero tip and thought the waitress had pissed me off. She tracked me down in the parking lot to apologize.

I work in the accounting office of a hotel with a restaurant, and I’ve worked as a bartender, banquet server and night auditor on the same property. Our policy is to use the amount from the total line. Sometimes this is to the server’s benefit sometimes not; but it’s consistent.

Absurd results are checked with the guest whenever possible or the manager settles the ambiguity in the guest’s favour.

I think you specifically signed a slip for 52.80, which is a totally reasonable amount to leave with the meal+tip, so the waitress was completely justified in using that total. If it had been a ridiculous difference, they should’ve contacted you or used the tip line, but I’ve frequently left $10.00 tips on a $42.00 meal, so it’s not like the waitress had any way of knowing your intent.

Calling it theft is just ridiculous. You wrote it right on the slip yourself!

I always assumed the amount on the “total” line was the amount I was going to see on my credit card bill. If I signed a bill for $52.80 and my statement said $50.80 then I would be confused, whatever the tip-math worked out to. Frankly, I am a little surprised that there is any flexibility on the part of the restaurant to decide what total I meant.

Is it OK to just put a total and let someone else figure out the difference? I have degrees in math and I still nervously triple check my math when charging a meal. Gotta check the charges for accuracy, figure out 15-20%, then decide to round up or down, then add it all up (don’t forget to carry the one). Those three beers I drank aren’t helping either.

Actually, I want to know where I can have 4 beers with 2 meals and still only pay $40.

No kidding.