I worry that I am embarrassing one of my guests-- especially one of my guests who happens to be leaving me a tip. Here are a few handy tips on how to pay a restaurant bill with grace: You then say, "Oh, no, I just couldn't let you do that. At my tables, I have in most cases been spending the previous two hours making sure that everyone in my charge is as comfortable and happy as possible. Sadly, it isn't to everyone. The ideal execution of bill getting-and-paying should be a near-non-event. For most diners, paying one's bill at the finish of a restaurant meal is a simple, uncomplicated process, a no-brainer.
Suddenly, the food-and-alcohol-induced peace and harmony at the table is shattered by diners grabbing the checks and credit cards out of each others' hands in a seriously misguided effort to pay for the meal and be "hospitable. You've been Declined If your credit card is declined, it is not necessarily your fault credit card companies sometimes put a hold on cards on which an unusual amount of spending has occurred at any given time, etc. If that happens to be you, please proceed to step 2. This one doesn't seem to be working. When you are ready to make payment, place your credit card, cash, cowrie shells, or whatever method of payment is accepted inside the bill folder with just enough spilling out to indicate that you are ready to make payment. When you have accomplished this feat, place the bill folder at the edge of the table next to you or, if you are seated in a booth, the end of the table nearest the server's approach. How to Pay without looking like a fool or making everyone uncomfortable. One of your dining parters grabs the check and insists on paying. At my tables, I have in most cases been spending the previous two hours making sure that everyone in my charge is as comfortable and happy as possible. Any server worth his salt will just treat it outwardly that it's no big deal and, rather than say, "I'm sorry, your card's been declined," will say something to the effect of, "Excuse me, do you have another card? I didn't think so. Do not, I repeat, do not drag the server into this. Your bill must be closed with the proper paperwork. Servers are often expected to read the minds of guests, but I think they deserve a little help on this one. There is a certain ritual to this that must be followed: Bay Area Bites Check, Please: If, in your wine-soaked joy of the evening, you have accidentally pocketed the receipt and we've all done it at least once, waiters included , the server might gently ask you for it as you leave. The ideal execution of bill getting-and-paying should be a near-non-event. You then say, "Oh, no, I just couldn't let you do that. The only words exchanged should be those of thanks between the payer and the server, and from the recipients of the evening's generosity to one giving it. Please, make it obvious that you are ready to give payment. He in most cases is not taking it away out of greed, but rather to take care of the paperwork, especially if you have paid by credit card. And mildly, chidingly sarcastic. When the server hands you back your bill, sign it at your leisure, but when you are finished, please place it back on the edge of the table. This should be obvious to most of you out there. Fighting Over the Check One of the most irritating things about waiting tables is guests fighting over the check.
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