Friday, February 8, 2013

Gini Graham Scott: Forget Your Wallet, Go to Jail

When I read the story about the Italian tourist who was arrested and spent the night in jail after forgetting his wallet at a trendy, New York Steakhouse, I could really relate.

Ironically, earlier that day I had been crossing a $5 toll bridge from Hayward to go to San Francisco, when I discovered I didn't have the $5 bill I thought was in my wallet. I had only a little over $4 in change, but experienced very different results. The two stories got me thinking about what we should be doing as a society when such things happen.

The story about the Italian tourist has been all over the news, and probably at this point the Smith & Wollensky Steakhouse is regretting that it called the police on the hapless tourist, since the negative publicity could well cost it far more in lost business than the $208.77 bill, which the tourist offered to pay for in various ways. There is even a debate started on a Zagat blog about what a restaurant should do if someone forgets their cash. Ironically, the Italian tourist, Graziano Graziussi, is a lawyer from Naples, so if anyone is in a position to sue over what happened, he probably could easily do so.

Basically, what happened is that Grziussi had gone to the steakhouse on 3rd Avenue near 49th in central Manhattan for a traditional meal. But after racking up a $208.77 bill, he discovered he had forgotten his wallet. So he couldn't pay the bill, and he offered to pay it by retrieving his wallet at his hotel. He even offered to leave his iPhone worth about $500 and vital to his business or go back to his hotel with a busboy, but the restaurant decided no dice and called the police. When the police arrived, Graziussi even asked for an escort to his hotel. But after telling him, "We're not a taxi service," the police officer took him to jail, where he spent the night, though a judge dismissed the case the next day after Graziussi promised to return to court to pay the bill the following week.

Needless to say, the case seems an example of poor customer service in the extreme, and the blogosphere seems to have come down strongly on the side of the hapless tourist. As one user Laurkir commented at the end of the ABC News Article by Kevin Dolak, "Seriously? Everyone forgets something once in a while. The restaurant was totally out of line here as were the police for detaining the man." Brian P. had this to say: "Dude was willing to leave his $600 phone behind to ensure he was coming back to pay the bill... Leave it to New York to be rude and inconsiderate." And Yourallguilty observed: "My bet is that any staff who accompanied the tourist back to the hotel would not only have solved the problem, but would have ended up with more
Source: Weird News Blog

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