Not About Food

Handing the credit card receipt to the man at the table

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Not About Food

Handing the credit card receipt to the man at the table

Low Country Jon | | Jul 22, 2007 10:17 AM

I'm curious about the persistence of this phenomenon in this day and age. Nine times out of ten when my wife and I dine out, the server hands the credit card receipt to me regardless of whether it is my wife's card or mine that was charged (and we each still have our own names on our cards--no joint cards). Although irritating, we've basically come to expect this. You'd think servers wishing to make a good impression right before the tip is determined would take the the extra second to look at the name on the card before handing over the receipt. Heck, we're even grateful when servers place the receipt between the two of us, since at least they are not assuming anything. While we live in the South, we've observed this phenomenon all over, and a couple who lives in NYC confirms they receive the same treatment there.

Maybe someone who works in the restaurant industry can give me an inside view here? Are servers trained to hand the receipt to the man rather than try to ascertain who actually provided the charge card? Admittedly, servers would have no way of knowing who was paying if one paid with cash or a joint card or if the name on the card was gender-ambiguous or if the couple was a same-sex couple. It just seems like placing the receipt between the two people would be the way to go in all those situations. Instead, when faced with a man and a woman, servers seem to almost always present the receipt to the man, and for that matter, they usually present the initial check to the man as well. I can at least somewhat understand presenting the check to the man as a matter of tradition, though a very paternalistic one, but when the server can actually look at the card and determine who is paying, why not do it?

Any thoughts on this? Anyone live someplace where this does not seem to be the rule of thumb?

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