This is a big fear of mine -- I'm dining out, hand the server my credit card (I only carry a Visa debit card), and find out that it's been declined. I have no other forms of payment on me, and neither does my companion. (Or, say, I'm alone -- which I often am when I travel on business.)
What acutally happens in this situation? I'm assuming that having to wash dishes is a myth. Am I arrested? Can I promise to send money once I have it?
(It was a good-faith attempt, I swear!)