New scam in restaurants -Why pay cash for take-away meals yet use credit cards for eat-in meals?

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon, the kind of day when if you have to go out for lunch, you’ll have to sit outside to enjoy the wonderful day.

So, I get to this restaurant and ask if they accept credit cards. When they confirmed that, we were excited that the hole in our stomachs was about to be filled with great food. In thinking ahead, I ordered a number of take-away plates, imagining how good the food will taste at midnight.

In the midst of stew juices running down our arms, the waitress parks my take-away order in front of me and declares, “I walk with cash?” I take a confused pause away from my dish I am immensely enjoying and ask, “What does that mean?” I turn to my husband and ask, “Do you know what that means?” Unlike me, he has not looked up from his plate until I focus his attention.

 I think she said, “I work with cash”. He said this as if he has just clarified all the confusing statements ever pronounced in the world. He turns to the waitress and reminds her that we asked if you ‘swiped’ and you said yes. As my husband’s attention was where it needed to be, I quickly disregarded this annoying interruption and returned to my plate.

The conversation easily slipped into Swahili. Snippets of English would escape, “Why would we pay cash for take-away meals and cards for eat-in meals?” I chipped in: “I am only paying one bill for all the food”, before returning to my feast. Then a manager-type appeared and the exchange between the waitress and her turned into a language that no one at our table understood, and ended with a look at me saying, “Okay.”

We surmised that we thwarted some kitchen plot to skim money off the meals. “Once you started your ‘American Investigations,’ their share prices plummeted,” declared my husband. He warned me that should I write an article about the incident, I should not mention the restaurant by name. But that is part of the problem. Not calling them out allows the shenanigans to persist because no one seems to keep corrupt people in check around here.

We did a detailed forensic audit of the final bill and left: no tip, no thank you for trying to cheat me and the establishment that serves great meals.