This is the kind of thing that makes my blood boil. A man who pretended he was stood up on a Valentine’s Day dinner date attempted to coerce the restaurant to give him a free dinner in ‘consolation’. His ‘on the house’ ploy didn’t work on the house, but he got his free steak just the same…
This story just shows how little respect young folks have for others, these days. Members of the entitled generation will go to any lengths, it seems, to get what they want, even at the expense of others – disregarding and disrespecting the rights and feelings of others in the process.
Stephen Bozner of ‘somewhere in Maryland’ decided to see if he could swindle Outback Steakhouse out of a free meal on Valentines Day. His ploy was intricate and took a fair amount of planning. And he live-Tweeted the whole sting all evening from the restaurant.
Bozner arrived at the restaurant, requested a table for two and sat down behaving as if he was expecting a dining companion to show up.
He accepted the usual free loaf of Bread and ordered a bottle of Wine. And waited. Then, he reports, he pretended to become sadder and sadder as the evening wore on.
The ploy was just a slightly more-sophisticated version of the old ‘Dine and Dash’ (eat, and leave without paying).
The resto didn’t take his bait, though the manager did let him sit there as long as he wanted to, ‘waiting’, sharing his ‘hope’.
In the end, a sweet older couple befriended him, took in his bogus story of being stood up, and were taken in to the tune of his Steak dinner.
I’m positively livid!
Not only did this smarmy little Millennial dweeb purposely set out to defraud the restaurant out of a free meal, he succeeded in conning a nice older couple into buying him dinner, all based on his intricately woven web of lies.
And he – and at least one big time food blogger – treated the whole episode as a game, a lark, a trifle to be smirked at while sharing his Twitter feed.
Real damage was done…
Over and above the fact that Bozner manipulated an unsuspecting older couple out of a table check that must have topped (US)$75 with that bottle of Wine, he attempted to defraud the restaurant as well.
Well, Mr.Bozner, I have news for you. Fraud is a crime! Have you any idea what it costs the restaurant to put that Steak on your plate? The food itself is just a small part of the whole picture. In fact, there’s an industry rule of thumb that states no restaurant can afford to put an item on the menu if it can’t sell that selection for at least three times the cost of the ingredients that go into it.
Management has to pay the mortgage or rent on its space; employee wages and uniforms; electricity, gas and phone bills; building and equipment repair and maintenance costs; taxes and license fees; and probably loan repayments and interest for the startup cash it needed to open the doors in the first place. And those are just the high points.
Guess how much profit the restaurant makes on a $50 Steak? Maybe $3 after all the costs of the operation behind getting it to your table are paid.
Sinner, redeem thyself!
Mr. Bozner, I hope you now understand what a despicable thing you did Valentine’s Day evening at the Outback Steakhouse. If, as your Twitter feed framed it (albeit loosely), the Outback gambit was really just a socio-cultural experiment, how about you redeem yourself at least to the extent that you try to track down the sentimental oldsters who paid for your meal and repay them?
UPDATE: Sinner at least partly redeemed…
After Bozner got home that night he tweeted that he had donated $50 to the ALCU on behalf of the couple who bought his dinner, and made a point of saying he tipped the server $20. Both as after thoughts, almost as if he felt guilty with the benefit of hindsight. If so, he never admitted it.
Did you, Mr. Bozner, consider that the older couple might be on a fixed income, struggling to get along on pensions that don’t allow them much of a lifestyle – except when they squeeze out a few extra bucks to give themselves a special Valentine’s Day supper? That’s the majority of older folks today.
Did you stop to think they might even have gone further into debt on their credit card for you?
Did you think $20 was a fair tip for keeping a server’s table tied up all night? As one of the folks (possibly a server) who responded to that said:
“$20 is garbage considering the amount of time he was there.”
Oddly the local Outback location replied in the positive to Bozner’s Tweet, apparently seeing an opportunity for some free publicity:
“How about you bring in a real date and the meal’s on us? The love connection is up to you though. Send us a DM so we can make it happen.”
The vast majority of respondents to Bozner’s Twitter stunt were not so forgiving, though, as this representative example from Tyler Conway @tylerconway shows:
“So this dude conned your employees and wasted everyone’s time, got STRANGERS he doesn’t know to pay for his meal and y’all give him more? Gonna wear an all-black suit today and go into your restaurant crying pretending “my wife” died. Can y’all comp a few meals for me too??”
Your childish prank was not only not funny, but selfish and disrespectful to your targets as well. Shame on you, Bozo Bozner. And everyone else who laughed along with you as you gleefully Tweeted the night away!
~ Maggie J.