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Would you have paid?
Yes, of course! 5%  5%  [ 2 ]
No, it's free food! 85%  85%  [ 35 ]
Other (explain) 10%  10%  [ 4 ]
Total votes : 41
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 Post subject: WWYD (restaurant offers free food for reason beyond control)
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 3:43 pm 
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Mom and I went to Panera today for lunch because my aunt sent some gift cards.

When we tried to pay (order came to $19) they said they couldn't process gift cards because their computer was down. The manager said the food was on them and to have a nice day.

We said thanks, but my mom was stewing about it while waiting, and ended up going and paying cash. My thought was that we wouldn't have gone in without the gift card, so if they want to write it off, hey thanks.

What would you do? Am I a crasshole or is my mom just unbelievably honest.

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 Post subject: Re: WWYD (restaurant offers free food for reason beyond cont
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 3:45 pm 
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i would have taken it and then next time come back with a large tip or maybe make extra purchases i wouldn't normally do. I would totally feel an obligation, but i never carry cash and if i am expecting to use the card i would have been out of luck.

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 Post subject: Re: WWYD (restaurant offers free food for reason beyond cont
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 3:53 pm 
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If they offered, it's not dishonest to take it. You weren't trying to put one over on anyone. I would have, however, left a large tip. That's way better for the workers.

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 Post subject: Re: WWYD (restaurant offers free food for reason beyond cont
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 3:58 pm 
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Panera doesn't have a tip jar, otherwise we definitely always tip 20%, rounded up.

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 Post subject: Re: WWYD (restaurant offers free food for reason beyond cont
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:01 pm 
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What? In that case, I'd gladly take the free lunch. I'm not going to worry about a company that doesn't let their employees receive tips.

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 Post subject: Re: WWYD (restaurant offers free food for reason beyond cont
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:02 pm 
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Having spent many years in food service management and many years in customer service, I would have happily taken the free meal and saved my gift cards for another day. Free food is a tool used at their discretion to build good customer relationships, and is honestly one of the cheapest forms of advertising.

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 Post subject: Re: WWYD (restaurant offers free food for reason beyond cont
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:07 pm 
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Do any fast food places have tip jars? I don't think Subway ever does.

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 Post subject: Re: WWYD (restaurant offers free food for reason beyond cont
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:34 pm 
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Tip jars seem to be against the rules at corporate fast food places, but most of the time even if there isn't a tip jar fast food workers are still allowed to accept tips. My mom tips fast food employees every time; it's sort of cute.

Anyway, there was absolutely nothing wrong with accepting the free meal in this situation.

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 Post subject: Re: WWYD (restaurant offers free food for reason beyond cont
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:36 pm 
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I too would have taken the free meal. I worked at a Subway years and years ago and there certainly wasn't a tip jar. I don't know if we were allowed to accept tips, I didn't have anyone offer me one.

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 Post subject: Re: WWYD (restaurant offers free food for reason beyond cont
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:38 pm 
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I must be missing something. What's to stew over? What could be seen as dishonest?

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 Post subject: Re: WWYD (restaurant offers free food for reason beyond cont
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:40 pm 
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Absolutely I would have taken the free meal - it was good customer service on their part.

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 Post subject: Re: WWYD (restaurant offers free food for reason beyond cont
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:52 pm 
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FootFace wrote:
I must be missing something. What's to stew over? What could be seen as dishonest?


My mom felt that since her paying wouldn't be a total hardship it was the right thing to do. Might have something to do with residual Catholic guilt instilled by mean Irish nuns with rulers.

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 Post subject: Re: WWYD (restaurant offers free food for reason beyond cont
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:56 pm 
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I'd have taken it for sure. Infact, that has happened! I got a Harvey's veggie burger and their debit was down; they gave me my lunch for free. Put a spring in my step all day, and I always go back to that location because I just thought that was great.

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 Post subject: Re: WWYD (restaurant offers free food for reason beyond cont
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:06 pm 
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jordanpattern wrote:
What? In that case, I'd gladly take the free lunch. I'm not going to worry about a company that doesn't let their employees receive tips.
This. No question. The gift card had been bought and paid for, so the only potential issue with accepting the free meal would have been the staff getting stiffed. Since it wasn't an option for you to rectify or prevent that, I'd see no problem with accepting lunch on the house.

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 Post subject: Re: WWYD (restaurant offers free food for reason beyond cont
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:21 pm 
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i would have taken the free lunch and done a happy jig about it.
it's a large chain so it's not like it's a neighborhood locally owned cafe where it might hurt them financially to give a meal away. Panera can afford to give away one free meal.

i was at Dunkin Donuts drive thru the other day and their scanner would NOT scan my phone app to pay so they ended up giving me my ice coffees for free. i did a happy jig for that.

your mom obviously has a good heart but i dont think you should feel bad about a free meal.

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 Post subject: Re: WWYD (restaurant offers free food for reason beyond cont
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:51 pm 
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Take the food as everyone else said. It hurts no one. You are not stealing.

The first restaurant I worked in had a take-out server assigned during busy hours, they just sat by the phone near the entrance, took orders by phone or in person, and managed that area - that person was paid a little above normal minimum wage while the regular floor waitstaff were paid tipped minimum wage. The person on take-out duty was expressly forbidden to receive tips (thus it was a terrible position to be in - if take-out is busy, so is the floor, so you're certainly better off getting tipped). While I'm sure that legally a normally paid person can accept tips, I wouldn't be surprised if some places didn't allow it. I'm totally cool with that if the staff are actually being paid living wages, because tipping is a horrible thing that should be abolished anyway. My Panera has a food bank donation jar by the registers and they match some of the proceeds as well as donate all their bread at the end of the day (which I actually got to witness once when I came around closing time, it was cool).


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 Post subject: Re: WWYD (restaurant offers free food for reason beyond cont
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:20 pm 
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I would have paid, but I'm nuts and I carry around loads of guilt.


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 Post subject: Re: WWYD (restaurant offers free food for reason beyond cont
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:39 pm 
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It's Panera Bread, a huge chain. They are not hurting over a couple of free lunches. I would pay at a small local joint though.


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 Post subject: Re: WWYD (restaurant offers free food for reason beyond cont
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:04 pm 
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I would have paid and then said nice things about them on facebook

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 Post subject: Re: WWYD (restaurant offers free food for reason beyond cont
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:11 pm 
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vowlry wrote:
It's Panera Bread, a huge chain. They are not hurting over a couple of free lunches. I would pay at a small local joint though.

Exactly. They have tons of money and I've had to play close to $10 for bullshiitake skimpy sandwiches. I'd say they owe me anyway. But if it was a small independent cafe, I'd definitely pay.

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 Post subject: Re: WWYD (restaurant offers free food for reason beyond cont
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:11 pm 
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I think it depends on if I had cash on me or not. If I did I'd probably pay, but if not I'd take it as the universe telling me to accept it.

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 Post subject: Re: WWYD (restaurant offers free food for reason beyond cont
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:15 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: WWYD (restaurant offers free food for reason beyond cont
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:21 pm 
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Invictus wrote:
I would have paid and then said nice things about them on facebook



Dang it! I wrote the exact opposite of what I meant to. I would have accepted the free meal, happily and free of guilt, and then said nice things about them later.

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 Post subject: Re: WWYD (restaurant offers free food for reason beyond cont
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:28 pm 
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I still stand by saying that taking the food would have been fine, but for those saying it's a huge chain and they can afford it - please keep in mind that they may not be corporately owned. It might be a locally-owned franchise of one or two stores in your area, opened by someone who lives in your community. I mean, it might not be, and even if it is they do of course pay franchise fees and get some support from the parent corporation in return, but please don't assume that just because you recognize a chain restaurant that it is owned by a nameless faceless giant somewhere.

My family owned one restaurant location franchised from a larger chain when I was younger, and my dad and I worked 65-70 hour weeks to keep it running, sometimes sleeping in the office because it was too exhausting to drive home between close/opens, and if we gave food away it came from our bottom line, which had a direct impact on whether we could pay our mortgage that month. But because people saw the familiar chain logo, they assumed we had some sort of endless resources at our disposal.

Uh, okay. Pointless rant over.

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 Post subject: Re: WWYD (restaurant offers free food for reason beyond cont
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 9:05 pm 
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poopiebitch wrote:
I still stand by saying that taking the food would have been fine, but for those saying it's a huge chain and they can afford it - please keep in mind that they may not be corporately owned. It might be a locally-owned franchise of one or two stores in your area, opened by someone who lives in your community. I mean, it might not be, and even if it is they do of course pay franchise fees and get some support from the parent corporation in return, but please don't assume that just because you recognize a chain restaurant that it is owned by a nameless faceless giant somewhere.

My family owned one restaurant location franchised from a larger chain when I was younger, and my dad and I worked 65-70 hour weeks to keep it running, sometimes sleeping in the office because it was too exhausting to drive home between close/opens, and if we gave food away it came from our bottom line, which had a direct impact on whether we could pay our mortgage that month. But because people saw the familiar chain logo, they assumed we had some sort of endless resources at our disposal.

Uh, okay. Pointless rant over.


Yes, but totally. T owns a franchise of a large chain. They don't cushion him whatsoever. So even though people recognize the name and think it's just part of a huge corporation, it's his and it's all coming out of his money when he gives away free food. People get mad a lot because they don't give free meals/discounts often, but small business owners can't necessarily float it.

I don't know how Panera works, though, with their ownership. I'm sure many corporations do things differently.

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