Two friends and I recently went to the Belmont Lounge (15th between Irving and Park) for dinner and drinks. When we received the bill and there was a 20% gratuity, which, we were told after inquiring, was the policy for checks north of $100 (not on the menu). I assumed gratuity was always discretionary. Even when it's a party of six or more (their only stated gratuity policy), I've heard of people crossing out the printed amount to adjust for the quality of service. Isn't that the point of a tip and a service-driven business?
We discussed it at length at the table, becoming increasingly pissed. The waitress noticed (otherwise, she was totally indifferent) and TIPPED OFF THE BOUNCER. As we left, the bouncer held us at the door
and asked if we settled the bill. We said we had and walked out. Once on the street, the waitress, manager and bouncer called us back to tell us that we were short on the bill. The bill plus their 20% was $174. We left $170. To us, we thought we would get our point
across, but not really short the waitress. If the policy is management's, then it's not her fault. But to be held at the door and be CHASED DOWN by three people for four effing bucks?!
What's does the law and prevailing wisdom say about this? I have held back on the egregious, albeit subjective, examples of poor service.