"Dining and dashing" on the rise in bleak economy - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

"Dining and dashing" on the rise in bleak economy

Lawton_More and more restaurants are seeing "dining and dashing" lately.  It's when a customer dines at a restaurant, eats their meal, and skips out on the check.  When this happens, some restaurants eat the loss, but others make their employees pay. 

Servers and manager say they have seen it all, and dining and dashing is just a part of business.  So, they say they always are aware of what their customers are doing.  While local restaurants may not be busy during the week, workers say weekends are packed, and that's when they must be more alert than ever.  "Anytime that there is a wait, normally people see that as their best opportunity (to dine and dash)," said waitress Malina Coulter.

Dishonest diners have different methods of skipping out on their bill - from declined credit cards to simply walking out and leaving the wait staff stiffed.  Restaurant Manager James Shurtz had to pay a bill of $110 when one of his customers walked out on him.  But, he says it's just part of the job.  "I'm a waiter - it happens."

Different restaurants have different policies and consequences for when a customer skips out on a bill.  "Depending on the restaurant you work at, a lot of them will make you pay for it right then and there," said Coulter.  Restaurant Manager Jonathan Schiefler says they don't like for it to happen at all.  "It happens maybe once a month, but we really do our best with teamwork and keeping our eyes on the floor to keep it to a minimum so it doesn't happen too often, or control our business," he said.

Waitress Malina has a message for would-be "dine and dashers:"  "We are working hard for our money, too, and I know the economy is hurting, and they are hurting too; but we are hurting just as bad as they are."

Police say if you skip out on your tab and are caught it is a misdemeanor offense, and such a charge will remain on your record permanently. 

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