Ignored by the waiters, they leave without paying… and will regret it

PublishedJanuary 25, 2023, 06:05

ZurichIgnored by the waiters, they leave without paying… but will regret it

A couple left an establishment after multiple and vain attempts to settle the bill. Six months later, the police gave them a little call.

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“Can we have the bill, please?” Once. Two times. Thrice. And after the fourth, they got fed up. A couple has testified to their unpleasant experience in a pizzeria near Zurich in the spring of last year. When it came time to pay their due after tasting their pizza and drinking a bottle of prosecco, nothing to do, the staff never brought the bill. “In the long run, I said to myself that they were doing it on purpose,” says Silvano.

The last straw was when the waiters, called several times to ask for the bill, started clearing the tables next door, without always bringing the bill. After half an hour, patience was at an end. Silvano and his partner got up and headed for the exit. Nobody stopped them. Once outside, they turned around again, but no one was paying attention to them.

Six months later, Silvano received a call: “Hello, it’s the police.” He had just been identified thanks to video surveillance, after the complaint against an unknown person filed by the restaurant. Now that the couple is known, a conciliation can take place with the restaurateur, who will then decide to maintain his complaint or not. If this is the case, the couple risks a fine, in addition to having to pay their due, which amounts to around 130 francs. In any case, he says he is quite willing to do so. As he was already on the day of the offence.

What should they have done?

The police officer who spoke to Silvano was not very understanding of the couple’s behavior. Nothing prevented the couple from recontacting the restaurant later or coming back at another time to settle the bill. A German-speaking etiquette expert, Barbara Suter, further indicates that it is possible to go to the counter to pay directly, to leave a business card with contact details and a note to request that an invoice be sent, or inform the staff on arrival at the restaurant if you have a time at which you must leave it at the latest.

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