Throwing money down and leaving

I see this in movies and TV shows all the time. People are eating at a restaurant. Something comes up, they toss some money on the table, and leave.

Almost never do I see anyone actually waiting for the bill in a scene, yet I can’t recall ever seeing anyone in real life paying without getting the bill first.

Does this actually ever happen in real life? Do you do it? Have you seen it? What do you do, just take a guess at the amount on the check? What if you’re wrong?

Has anyone who has been a server seen this? Is it okay with you?

Is this just one of those on-screen things, like starting and ending phone conversations without a hello or goodbye?

Since the OP is asking for personal experiences, let’s move this to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

I have done it at Waffle House, but they’re not exactly known for $50 steak dinners. Most people already have a good idea about what they are spending just from having read the menu and will try to factor in a fair to generous tip so the odds of underpaying would be pretty low.

I’ve never seen it in real life, but my impression of the movie situation is the characters are ones who have lots of money and they intentionally overpay.

On TV and in movies, people also rarely say ‘bye’ when they’re on the phone, they just hangup, practically mid-sentence. I think it’s just a good way to keep the story moving forward. No one wants to see the drama on pause while the main characters wait for the bill.

I do it every so often at the bar I frequent, on trivia nights. My bill is usually around the same amount every time I go (I have a pop, a salad and a plate of whatever) and I always make sure to over-tip the waitress (not her fault I wanted pop refills instead of beer refills) and I don’t feel like waiting for-e-ver for her to come back 'round to cash me out So I just leave a $20 on the bar after catching her eye, or at the table if my friends are still there. For that much my food is definitely paid for, and the server is definitely a getting 20%. The variable is how much more than 20% she’s getting so I’m sure she totally doesn’t mind that I dropped money and left.

I have done it twice in my life. Once in a bar during a crawl when me and a bunch of other drunker Santarchists decided to move on and once at a Denny’s type place when I got tired of waiting for the waitress to come and pick it up.

I did it a couple of times when I had to get going and no one showed up with a bill. These weren’t big expensive meals. It was common at a lunch place near work a long time ago. There were only four meals to choose from, everyone knew what their bill would come to, no need to hang around.

Sure, if service is really slow or something comes up and I need to leave. I know how much the meal was and how much I’m tipping. However, I *place *it. Throwing it seems unnecessary.

I witnessed it in a rural Muslim area back when cell sites were just being installed, and new lines were made available. People would go to the counter pay phones, make a long-distance call, and then plop down money. They give specific denomination regardless of the actual (metered) cost. And yes, the cost turns out to be much higher than what was thrown down. Phone company men tell me it’s to avoid a charge of outright theft which carries a heavy penalty, even under moderate Islamic law.

*Throwing *is usually a dick move. Showoff like tossing a couple of twenties when its a $20 ish bill, and storming off to show you’re so loaded and time so valuable that an extra twenty bucks is total chump change and you want everyone to notice.

That be different from not wanting to wait for the check, but more than covering the bill and tip and catching the waitstaff eye…

I did something similar once in a nightclub.

I was fed up with a lot of things in my life at the time, and definitely not having fun so I decided to go home rather early. On my way out, I came across a member of the staff, who was also kind of a friend and as I walked past him I threw (the equivalent of a couple of 5€) banknotes in his hands. It wasn’t much but I actually didn’t own him (or the place) anything. I was just depressed and the money wasn’t going to help me anyway.

Like Joey P said, it’s just one of those things that’s done to keep the story moving. Just like when someone drives somewhere, they always seem to magically find a parking spot right in front of their destination - and when they call someone, the phone gets answered after one ring (and it’s always the person they wanted to talk to, not someone else in the household). A movie would be a lot longer if you had to watch someone driving around searching for a parking spot, or had to watch while someone waited for the server to pick up their credit card, then waited while the server ran the card and brought it back to the table, and then waited for the character to calculate the tip, do the math, and sign the charge slip.

Closest I’ve come was in a bar where I was a regular. I got an emergency call and the place was busy. I could have just left and paid the next time I was there. Instead, I gave one of the bartenders two twenties, which I was sure was more than enough. I told her I’d cover it if that wasn’t enough and went on my way.

Classy people do classy things. The next time I came in there was an envelope with my change. I had assumed whatever extra would be kept as a tip.

I do it routinely at the local 7-eleven Throw down a dollar and a dime for a $1.06 coffee refill. They know me, and sometimes give me one free.

I’ve never done that. Used to throw cash down right after I got the bill though and walked out. After I got chased down a couple times from idiot waiters that thought I dined and dashed (they’re too used to credit cards), I stopped doing that too.

Yeah, the only reason to throw the money is so people see you doing it.

I’ve done it when the service is spectacularly bad and it’s clear we will be waiting for a long time for the rest of the order, throw down what you think the drinks cost, get out of there and write a one star review on Yelp.

It’s rare, but it happens. I know what I ordered, I know what they charge, and I tend to pay cash at restaurants/bars, so if I need to go and can’t wait for the whole check dance, I’ll drop cash on the table and leave, doing my best to catch the attention of my server/bartender and quickly tell them the money’s on the table and I’m out.

When I smoked and was having dinner with a bunch of people, I’d drop cash on the table and go out to smoke and wait for everyone else to settle up and come out.

Once I was sitting with a friend at the bar in an Italian restaurant on Rush Street. A couple came in and sat down next to us. The guy was huge, well dressed, and looked like he had just walked off the set of Goodfellas. The dame was tiny and so was her cocktail dress. He ordered a large appetizer plate of calamari and another large appetizer plate of sausages and peppers. As soon as he placed the order, his cell phone rang. He answered it, listened, hung up, and said to his date “We gotta go.” He peeled off a bunch of bills, placed them on the bar, and told the bartender, “Give da food to dese guys,” indicating me and my friend with his thumb. They were gone before we could thank him. The food was yummy.