Waitress Fired for posting note on receipt

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GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
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Waitress Fired for posting note on receipt

Did she deserve to be fired?

A waitress who posted a receipt with a note from a pastor complaining about the automatic gratuity added to her bill has reportedly been fired from her job.

Chelsea Welch, who was terminated from her job at a St. Louis-area Applebee?s on Wednesday, told Consumerist.com that she posted the note from Alois Bell as a ?lighthearted joke? and had no clue the story would end up going viral.

?I thought the note was insulting, but it was also comical,? she told the website. ?I posted it to Reddit because I thought other users would find it entertaining.?

Bell, a pastor at Truth in the World Deliverance Ministries Church, scratched out the automatic 18 percent tip (for parties of more than eight) and wrote a ?0? where the additional tip would be indicated.

?I give God 10%,? Bell wrote. ?Why do you get 18??

Bell, a mother of three who heads a 15-member congregation, later called Welch?s manager to complain that her snide note was publicized, ultimately resulting in the waitress' firing.

?[It was] a lapse in my character and judgment,? Bell told the Smoking Gun. ?My heart is really broken ? I?ve brought embarrassment to my church and ministry.?

An Applebee?s spokesman told Consumerist.com that the company apologized to Bell for violating her ?right to privacy? and confirmed that Welch is no longer employed by the franchise.

?I am expected to portray a canned personality that has been found to be least offensive to the greatest amount of people,? Welch told the website. ?I come home exhausted, sore, burnt, dirty, and blistered on a good day. And after all that, I can be fired for ?embarrassing? someone who directly insults their server on religious grounds.?

Welch added: ?I?ve been stiffed on tips before, but this is the first time I?ve seen the Big Man used as reasoning."

Now without a job, Welch said she?ll focus on finding another gig so she can pay for college.

?In the meantime, hopefully I can find a job that pays more than $3.50/hr,? she told Consumerist. ?Or where people are willing to tip well.?

A Facebook page called "HIRE BACK Chelsea" has since been created in support of Welch. As of midday Friday, more than 4,500 visitors backed Welch, including some who indicated they will boycott Applebee's.

Read more: Waitress fired after posting receipt showing pastor's complaint about tip | Fox News

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

Oh, you beat me to it! I don't think she should have been fired. Seriously, if you're going to stiff your server after you bring in a party of eight, you deserve to be publicly humiliated.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1683

Wait. So there's a religious argument that isn't supported by Fox news?

Just because she crossed out the automatic gratuity and wrote $0 doesn't mean she didn't tip. Or the other people in her party didn't tip.

But yes, she deserves to be fired for posting a picture of the receipt with the person's signature on the receipt. I would expect the same if I was the one whose signature was suddenly all over the Internet.

As for automatice gratuities-I hate, hate, hate the idea that this is acceptable practice.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

As you all know I think you should be able to be fired for whatever reason. That said, I still think she could have been fired if she posted the persons name.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
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I think Applebees had the right to fire her, but I don't think they should have. Maybe put the complaint in her employee file or something, but it seems a little extreme to fire her for this one thing.
As for the pastor, as embarrassing as it was to her that she wrote the note in the first place, she should be even more embarassed now that she got someone fired because of something that SHE did. How does this not bring even MORE embarrassment to her church and ministry for the way she is acting?

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1683

Gloria, one's signature is something you do have the right to privacy under FOIA requests. It can be used for all sorts of reasons. Would it be better for Applebee's if they were sued for this?

I would in no way feel embarrassed by this - getting someone fired for posting my signature online.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

Gloria, one's signature is something you do have the right to privacy under FOIA requests. It can be used for all sorts of reasons. Would it be better for Applebee's if they were sued for this?

I would in no way feel embarrassed by this - getting someone fired for posting my signature online.

I would. It was a mistake to post the signature but it was removed as soon as she realized it could be read. All getting her fired did was bring more publicity to it.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1683

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

I would. It was a mistake to post the signature but it was removed as soon as she realized it could be read. All getting her fired did was bring more publicity to it.

No it wasn't.

I won't post the link here but google it; it's still there.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

The Pastor did not fire her, her boss did. Say you had a hair in your food and you called to complain. The person who was responsible was fired, is it your fault that person was fired?

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

Yeah, I agree that you can't post someone's signature/credit card receipts online, which is what makes it justifiable to me that she was disciplined in some way. Identity theft issues and whatnot. Having said that, I totally think that the Pastor was the original jerk in this scenario, and too bad if she's embarrassed. How about don't do stuff that you're going to be embarrassed about if people find out, you know?

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

Oh, the signature wasn't cut off??? It was cut off in the pic I saw. OK, yes, that's wrong and an invasion of privacy but if the signature had been cut off or blurred, then I would say there's no reason to fire her. Even so, I think Applebee's didn't *have* to fire her, if she was their best server & always willing to pick up a shift & they'd be lost without her, they could have said, "Don't let it ever happen again," and it would be fine with me.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

The Pastor did not fire her, her boss did. Say you had a hair in your food and you called to complain. The person who was responsible was fired, is it your fault that person was fired?

She called and demanded she be fired.

Some time on Wednesday, Chelsea says the customer who had left the receipt contacted her Applebee?s location, demanding that everyone be fired, from the servers involved to the managers.

Waitress Who Posted No-Tip Receipt From “Pastor” Customer Fired From Job

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

Wait. So there's a religious argument that isn't supported by Fox news?

Just because she crossed out the automatic gratuity and wrote $0 doesn't mean she didn't tip. Or the other people in her party didn't tip.

But yes, she deserves to be fired for posting a picture of the receipt with the person's signature on the receipt. I would expect the same if I was the one whose signature was suddenly all over the Internet.

As for automatice gratuities-I hate, hate, hate the idea that this is acceptable practice.

The server who waited on the party (which is not the girl who was fired, it was someone else who hasn't been identified) has said that she didn't get a tip. That's why she showed the receipt to others in the first place.

ITA with you about automatic gratuities but mostly because it seems to give servers carte blanche to not do their job and still get a tip. As a former server, there's no way I'd take a party of eight without that guarantee, it's far easier to serve four two-tops that you'll probably get a lot more money from all together. As a diner, if the service doesn't warrant an 18% tip, then I get the manager involved ASAP so that we will get proper service, or that the 18% will not be added on and I can tip what I feel is appropriate for the service we got.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

If the pastor didn't want to comply with the included gratuity for a table of her size she should not have eaten there.

I'm sad for the waitress that she didn't think to not remove the signature.

The "pastor" should be ashamed, if you can't afford to eat somewhere don't go there.

I wish applebees had not fired the server, though I understand why they did.

I think automatic included gratuities would be a good spin off Wink

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

She called and demanded she be fired.

Waitress Who Posted No-Tip Receipt From “Pastor” Customer Fired From Job

Well yes, that is over the top.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4111

"Spacers" wrote:

Oh, the signature wasn't cut off??? It was cut off in the pic I saw. OK, yes, that's wrong and an invasion of privacy but if the signature had been cut off or blurred, then I would say there's no reason to fire her. Even so, I think Applebee's didn't *have* to fire her, if she was their best server & always willing to pick up a shift & they'd be lost without her, they could have said, "Don't let it ever happen again," and it would be fine with me.

It was originally posted, but as soon as she realized that people could read it they cut off the signature.

As posted originally on Reddit’s Atheist page, the image contained the customer’s full signature. Chelsea says she didn’t think to edit that out because she had assumed the name was illegible.

But the Internet is a remarkably curious place, so sleuths began trying to identify the self-described “pastor” on the receipt.

“All throughout the comment thread on the Reddit post, I withheld any identifying information,” Chelsea explains, adding that she provided an inaccurate physical description of the customer just to throw people off.

She eventually replaced the image with a version that did not contain the signature, but by that point, people were posting their guesses as to the customer’s identity.

“I had already started receiving messages containing Facebook profile links and blogs and websites, asking me to confirm the identity of the customer,” she says. “I refused to confirm any of them, and all of them were incorrect. I worked with the website moderators to remove any personal information. I wanted to protect the identity of both my fellow server and the customer. I had no intention of starting a witch hunt or hurting anyone — I just wanted to share a picture I found interesting.”

Waitress Who Posted No-Tip Receipt From “Pastor” Customer Fired From Job

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
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"Potter75" wrote:

The "pastor" should be ashamed, if you can't afford to eat somewhere don't go there.

I have a feeling this had nothing to do with whether she could afford the tip or not. I think she just didn't *want* to pay the tip.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

what does "I give God 10%" even mean? If I were God, I'd be asking for a little more than 10% from a pastor. What a stupid thing to say.

GloriaInTX's picture
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"ClairesMommy" wrote:

what does "I give God 10%" even mean? If I were God, I'd be asking for a little more than 10% from a pastor. What a stupid thing to say.

It goes back the the Jewish practice of "tithing", by law in the old testament the amount they were supposed to give was 10%. So some people think that that is the "accepted" amount of what your contributions should be.

Tithing is an Old Testament concept. The tithe was a requirement of the law in which all Israelites were to give 10 percent of everything they earned and grew to the Tabernacle/Temple (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:26; Deuteronomy 14:24; 2 Chronicles 31:5). In fact, the Old Testament Law required multiple tithes which would have pushed the total to around 23.3 percent, not the 10 percent which is generally considered the tithe amount today. Some understand the Old Testament tithe as a method of taxation to provide for the needs of the priests and Levites in the sacrificial system. The New Testament nowhere commands, or even recommends, that Christians submit to a legalistic tithe system. Paul states that believers should set aside a portion of their income in order to support the church (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).

What does the Bible say about Christian tithing? Should a Christian tithe?

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
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"ClairesMommy" wrote:

what does "I give God 10%" even mean? If I were God, I'd be asking for a little more than 10% from a pastor. What a stupid thing to say.

As Gloria said, it refers to the tithe. Many Christians give 10% of their income to the church. I have also heard that a waitress should not be given a bigger percentage than God or the church. I feel though that it is a poor testimony to not tip well. In my opinion you should either tip well or not tell someone you are from the church because it will reflect poorly on the church. If you want someone to come visit your church, the best way to do that is to show yourself to be friendly and generous.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1683

If you google it, you will see her signature.

I still can't figure out how a party warranting an automatic gratuity only racked up a $35 bill at Applebee's.

The auto-tip suggestion of 18% is computer generated for parties of over 20 people, to protect wait staff from getting stiffed as is so often the case with large groups, so the waitress had no control over that

.
It must be a separate check only covering 1 - 3 people in the group. I find it hard to believe the waitress received no tip at all from a party that large.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
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Not really relevant, but I can not believe how much publicity this is getting. It just came across my news feed as ABCnew's top story.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
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Applebee's gratuity policy must change from location to location because this didn't look like an auto-tip suggestion, it looked like it was added on to the bill. The article I saw said gratuities are added for parties of 6 or more. This was a group of eight (eight diners, plus two little kids that didn't order) and they split the bill among a few credit cards.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I'm just going to agree with what Melissa said.

I think the pastor is a jerk and I would be horrified to go to services and listen to this person.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1683

"Spacers" wrote:

Applebee's gratuity policy must change from location to location because this didn't look like an auto-tip suggestion, it looked like it was added on to the bill. The article I saw said gratuities are added for parties of 6 or more. This was a group of eight (eight diners, plus two little kids that didn't order) and they split the bill among a few credit cards.

I was basing it on the article I quoted. I haven't been to Applebee's in over a year so I don't know. If they did have separate checks all with the auto tip, it isn't likely the server received no tip at all that night.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
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Even if the server was tipped properly by the others in the party, she's going to be taxed on the expected tip income of that $35. She lost money waiting on that woman. There's been no allegation of poor service that would justify stiffing her server.

Joined: 04/12/03
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"Spacers" wrote:

Even if the server was tipped properly by the others in the party, she's going to be taxed on the expected tip income of that $35. She lost money waiting on that woman. There's been no allegation of poor service that would justify stiffing her server.

Not necessarily. Have you ever been out with a group where 1 person stiffs the server? When it's happened to me, the rest of us have picked up the slack.

What is the "expected tip" on $35? Are they taxed on the tax also? (If a meal is $20 + $2 tax, is the server taxed on a tip based on $20 or $22?)

Joined: 08/17/04
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You pay on the bill total not the tax. You do not tip on tax.

MissyJ's picture
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"Jessica80" wrote:

You pay on the bill total not the tax. You do not tip on tax.

I don't think that I have ever separated that out and typically base giving tips on the bill total. I guess that is a good thing as I'd prefer to be over than under!

What annoys me is tipping a server that provided excellent service extra only to have them forced to put it in a pot to be shared at the end of the night with everyone... including the server that was rude, lazy, gave poor service, etc.

I understand the premise is to supposedly make it fair to those servers that didn't have the big tippers seated in their station but since that is rarely predictable (unless they have regulars), it should even out over time (unless they fit that poor server category!)

Joined: 08/17/04
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Of course it is fine to pay the total including tax. Tips though do not have to be based on the tax.

Spacers's picture
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"MissyJ" wrote:

What annoys me is tipping a server that provided excellent service extra only to have them forced to put it in a pot to be shared at the end of the night with everyone... including the server that was rude, lazy, gave poor service, etc.

I understand the premise is to supposedly make it fair to those servers that didn't have the big tippers seated in their station but since that is rarely predictable (unless they have regulars), it should even out over time (unless they fit that poor server category!

As a former server, I do NOT accept that argument that it will all work out in the end. I always earned higher tip percentages than almost anyone else, every place I worked. That's because I'd run my butt off all night while others did the bare minimum, and I engaged my customers instead of treating them like eating machines to be serviced. I was the kind of server who brought crackers & extra napkins to a table with kids before you had to ask, and refilled drinks as soon as they were empty, and cleared dirty plates if I had a free hand & was walking by. There is no reason for me to give my rightfully-earned money to someone else. In any other place that would be called stealing. Why stealing other people's tip income has become acceptable in the restaurant industry is beyond me.

If I know ahead of time that an establishment pools tips, I will simply refuse to eat there. If I happen to find out after the fact that tips are pooled, I call the manager over and tell him that I'm opposed to that practice and I will be tipping MY server only. If I get pushback, then I leave 10% on my card and slip the server some cash to put in a separate pocket. This is a horrible practice, and it would be stopped if customers would just do the right thing for their servers and refuse to go along iwth it.

mom3girls's picture
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"Spacers" wrote:

As a former server, I do NOT accept that argument that it will all work out in the end. I always earned higher tip percentages than almost anyone else, every place I worked. That's because I'd run my butt off all night while others did the bare minimum, and I engaged my customers instead of treating them like eating machines to be serviced. I was the kind of server who brought crackers & extra napkins to a table with kids before you had to ask, and refilled drinks as soon as they were empty, and cleared dirty plates if I had a free hand & was walking by. There is no reason for me to give my rightfully-earned money to someone else. In any other place that would be called stealing. Why stealing other people's tip income has become acceptable in the restaurant industry is beyond me.

If I know ahead of time that an establishment pools tips, I will simply refuse to eat there. If I happen to find out after the fact that tips are pooled, I call the manager over and tell him that I'm opposed to that practice and I will be tipping MY server only. If I get pushback, then I leave 10% on my card and slip the server some cash to put in a separate pocket. This is a horrible practice, and it would be stopped if customers would just do the right thing for their servers and refuse to go along iwth it.

This is the EXACT argument you will hear from people about paying more in taxes. When some people are working their butt off to make more money and others are sitting on their butt, why would the hard worker willingly give up their money?

My sister who worked as a server in college (now she works as an RN) and she uses the server pool analogy every time someone tries to discuss redistribution of wealth

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
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Someone making minimum wage as a server who wants to keep what her customers gave HER vs. someone making over a million dollars who doesn't want to pay the same effective tax rate as that server. Cry me a river. :rolleyes:

Joined: 03/14/09
Posts: 624

Tipping is an atrocious, outdated form of bribery, which encourages tax cheats and discrimination based on looks. I hate it.

But when I go to a country which still practices this, I still tip. I can't wait until it is outlawed and service industry managers are made to do their jobs. But that's not yet.

The pastor was rude. The person who posted this was out of line as well.

SID081108's picture
Joined: 06/03/09
Posts: 1348

I know so many "church people" who are horrible tippers and it pisses me off every time. To the point that I have friends in the restaurant industry that hated working the Sunday lunch shift because they knew that people that go to lunch after church tip poorly. What a sad example of generosity from the church. One of the many reasons I married my husband was because he was an excellent tipper and treated every service person with as much respect as you would treat the president with. I love him for that, and he and I both ALWAYS tip well unless you give us a really really good reason not to. Servers make jack squat as a base...the least you can do is give them a decent tip if you are going to eat out....and the 10% tithe has absolutely no relevance.

This pastor is a total jerk and I don't blame the girl for posting it, but yeah, she should have cut the signature off. I can see how Applebee's didn't have much of a choice but to fire her given that she publicly posted a patron's signature. I am curious if they would have still fired her had the signature been cut off in the original posting.