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Between David Brooks, bad Obamacare PR and now this, Applebee's can't seem to stay out of the news.  In this latest installment, a waitress who posted a credit card receipt where the customer wrote a note explaining why no tip was necessary,  has been fired from her job at Applebee's.  

"I give God 10%, why do you get 18%?" Pastor Bell asked, on the receipt.

The meal and transaction wasn't even from the fired waitress's table, but another Applebee's waitress, who was saddled with this awful customer, showed the receipt to her co-worker who then posted it online. She didn't obscure the signature, which she thought was illegible, but before long the customer's identity was tracked down by internet sleuths. The 'Pastor' before her name is quite clear though and the customer thought it was important to specify that she was a Pastor in her nasty note.

The auto-tip suggestion of 18% is computer generated for parties of over 20 people, to protect wait staff from getting stiffed as is so often the case with large groups, so the waitress had no control over that. But apparently this woman of God was so offended by the suggestion, that she felt the need to explain why she didn't think 18% was fair for someone who otherwise would be making $3.50 an hour.

[The waitress] eventually replaced the image with a version that did not contain the signature, but by that point, people were posting their guesses as to the customer’s identity.

Some time on Wednesday, Chelsea says the customer who had left the receipt contacted her Applebee’s location, demanding that everyone be fired, from the servers involved to the managers.

I didn’t break any specific guidelines in the company handbook — I checked.
“But because this person got embarrassed that their selfishness was made public, Applebee’s has made it clear that they would rather lose a dedicated employee than lose an angry customer. That’s a policy I can’t understand.”

For someone who makes their living off of tips, it seems like the customer’s note was salt in the wound for Chelsea.

“We make $3.50 an hour. Most of my paychecks are less than pocket change because I have to pay taxes on the tips I make,” she explains. “After sharing my tips with hosts, bussers, and bartenders, I make less than $9/hr on average, before taxes.
In her job, Chelsea says she skipped bathroom breaks when things got busy, went hungry when she had to work several tables at a time, would work until 1:30 a.m. and then come back in at 10:30 a.m.

“I am expected to portray a canned personality that has been found to be least offensive to the greatest amount of people,” she tells Consumerist. “I come home exhausted, sore, burnt, dirty, and blistered on a good day. And after all that, I can be fired for ‘embarrassing’ someone who directly insults their server on religious grounds.”

Nothing unusual about a customer stiffing a waitress of course. But to be so irked about a suggested tip,  that the Pastor felt the need to 'explain' not only why she was doing so but to tie that to her religious beliefs is ridiculous and bizarre. And apparently it's okay by her to stiff people who have done work for her, but it's not okay if people find out. So she raises a stink and demands that everyone be fired because she is so embarrassed;  if she doesn't think she should tip for service than why is it embarrassing?  Typical, hypocritical behavior by the so-called pious 'woman of God' who is such a weasel that she won't even stand by her own actions. It's a shame the waitress lost her job but at least this pastor was made to face public embarrassment.

3:16 PM PT: The pastor has been identified as a woman, Alois Bell.  And - she says the firestorm has 'ruined her reputation'. Why should stiffing waitresses ruin your reputation. What was your reputation prior to this? A generous, giving person who has now been outed?

Chelsea Welch, the waitress, wrote in an email to Yahoo News that the pastor (who has since been identified as Alois Bell) told Welch's manager at the St. Louis-area Applebee's that the ensuing firestorm had "ruined" her reputation.

"I give God 10%," Bell wrote on the receipt, scratching out the automatic tip and scribbling in an emphatic "0" where the additional tip would be. "Why do you get 18?" (There were more than eight people in Bell's party, triggering the auto-tip.)

Welch, who snapped a photo of the bill from a fellow server and uploaded to Reddit, defended her right to post the receipt. "I thought the note was insulting, but also comical," she told "And I thought other users would find it entertaining.”

Bell, a pastor at Truth in the World Deliverance Ministries Church, was not amused, and she called Welch's manager to complain.

“[It was] a lapse in my character and judgment,” Bell told the Smoking Gun, adding she did not expect her easily recognizable signature would be, as her friend informed her, “all over Yahoo. You went viral!”

"Lapse in character", that's almost as good as Chris Culliver's apology where he was 'verbalizing "thoughts in his head" that he doesn't actually feel'.  Sheesh.

Originally posted to Barefoothoofcare on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 02:46 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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