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Thread: Dine and Dash at Paris

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    Default Dine and Dash at Paris

    My business partner and I were having dinner at the Eiffel Tower restaurant at the top of the Paris Casino in Las Vegas. This is a formal eatery where not much on the menu falls below thirty dollars.

    We were in Vegas to attend a trade show, and we were letting off steam that night. Drinking heavily, eating hardy, having raucous fun. At some point during the meal we decided that we weren't going to pay for the repast. It made perfect sense - we were so drunken that we couldn't see them, so how could they see us? We'd just get up, and leave!

    My buddy left first - he slipped out unnoticed. Or so I thought. But as I sat there finishing up some cognac, the waiter started literally hovering over the table. And soon, so was the maitre d'. I'm not sure how they knew, but they knew! and they wouldn't let me out of their sight.

    The worst part was that I wasn't even sure how I was going to pay for the meal. I didn't have much, if any cash on me - I'd lost it all gambling, and my partner was the moneybags end of our company.

    Finally, sweating profusely notwithstanding the heavy blasts of air conditioning and the waiter breathing down my neck, I gave them a debit card for my bank account - which I was sure was at least a hundred dollars shy of what I needed to cover everything. Somehow, to my surprise and relief, it went through.

    There was to be no dine and dash, at least not that night!

  2. #2
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    Default Dine and Dash in Polynesia a.k.a. the Harbor Front San Diego, California

    My dine and dash episodes have been much more successful. In general, I don't like to D & D, because all through the meal what weighs heavily on your mind is the knowledge that you have to slip out without paying. To some extent, it spoils the meal. But sometimes, it sure beats paying.

    What we used to do, at least when we did it in San Diego, is pass off to the waiter a useless credit card my friend Po had "found," and then take off. We'd follow the routine of one of us - usually me - slipping away first and pulling up the Porsche up front for a quick getaway. Of course, we'd do this only in restaurants where the entrance was nowhere visible from the tables or, even better, where the entrance was on an entirely different floor.

    One place that worked particularly well for this was the Bali Hai in San Diego, which is a sort of bayside resort Polynesian place, with its entrance and Tahiti themed gift shop on the ground floor, and maitre d' and entire restaurant upstairs.

    With that upstairs downstairs setup once I was gone from the table and had pulled the car up by the port-cochere, there was really no way for anyone to catch up with us.

    So, we'd just throw down some useless credit card that we knew would decline but couldn't trace back to us, and a ten dollar bill for the waiter (no stiffer of working types us) and scoot out the door, single file. By the time the waiter figured out what was going on and that the card was no good, we'd be long gone.

    "What do you think the waiter did with the ten dollars?" I'd ask Po as we roared off away from the harbor front.

    "If he's smart," Po would say, smiling, "he just put it in his pocket and said absolutely nothing to anyone."

    We even convinced ourselves that the restaurant would come out okay as well.

    "They'll just turn in the lost credit card, and collect a fifty dollar reward," Po assured me.

  3. #3
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    Default DINE AND DASH IN BEVERLY HILLS

    Years later, long after I thought we'd given up this sort of thing, Po and I were at The Blvd, a chic restaurant in the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles.

    It had been a hard, long day. We'd put in our hours. I was ready to drive back home to San Diego, but Po suggested that we first have a good meal. We'd been in the area most of the afternoon, and The Blvd with its lofty ceilings and oak paneled large windows seemed like a fitting cap for the evening.

    I actually had to give a name to the maitre d' because there was a brief wait for a table, and I went ahead and gave a name associated with a fake voice mail account I had set up some time past, which I'd never really used for anything. She didn't ask for a phone number of course, but I always planned ahead. One never knew what might transpire on down the road. And as far as the voice mail itself, all it would announce was that you'd reached so and so's direct line, but be untraceable to me (or to anyone else, for that matter). Just in case. All in a day's work - you never knew when you might need to assume someone else's identity. Nothing truly nefarious you understand, just a number to give the pushy store clerk when one didn't wish to be bothered or the salesman who was giving you something for free but at a price of being hounded for weeks to come with cold calls from God knows where and whom.

    We looked the part of the usual Four Seasons clients however, especially Po, who was sporting a two thousand dollar jacket he had recently obtained from sources I didn't even want to know about. No one suspected anything because obviously what was going on in our minds was not in the slightest manifest through our appearance. If anything we were thinking had come through in our pleasant smiles, they would never have seated us! No, we were just another couple of working stiffs in Beverly Hills about to enjoy a repast at the Four Seasons' finest.

    Eventually we settled into a nice table. I had some kind of wild caught salmon, and Po had a rack of lamb. But, once again, as usual I was uneasy during the meal knowing that we were simply going to take off. I didn't even bother with dessert. We didn't drink either. I'd given up drinking years ago anyway, and Po wanted to keep his wits about him.

    We did however enjoy the scenary and the people watching, and it seemed pretty obvious that a lady in her forties, who was still quite beautiful but probably spectacular in her youth, had taken a shine to Podee. She was dining alone near our table and even kept striking up a conversation with him.

    Of course, we couldn't get involved with that. When in the midst of a crime, one mustn't leave behind tell tale clues. Put another way - Po couldn't give her his phone number.

    "Oh, that gentleman? Really! He did what? Well, here is his phone number."

    Of course, I suppose he could have given her my voicemail!

    As usual, we agreed that I would leave first. Po was really more the sneak type, and I didn't want to get caught up.

    I slipped out and went to use the bathroom, then back out to the car, that was parked at least a block away, down a side street. My leaving was of course the simple part of the equation. People get up from tables to go to the restroom all the time. Nothing out of the ordinary.

    I waited in the car a very long time. Po seemed to take forever. I started to wonder and was about to give him a call on his cell phone when I caught sight of him walking up, not particularly looking to be in a hurry, on the sidewalk. He had removed his jacket however - obviously trying to change up his looks.

    "What happened? What took so long?" I asked him as we drove away.

    "Well, it was that Asian waiter."

    Yes, I had thought he might be a problem myself. Asians were always hard to get over on, and seemed to be excessively on the lookout to protect the management's assets. Something which had never really made sense to me - why Asians worked so hard to prevent any scams when they themselves never had anything to gain. But, a general rule of thumb being that if you were looking to pull something, do with a clerk or worker other than an Asian one. And never with an older African American lady for that matter. But, that was a story for another time.

    This time, this Asian waiter, had failed to look out successfully for the house. We had slipped by him.

    "So, what happened?" I asked him. "What did he do?"

    "Well," Po smiled, "as soon as you left, he started to get reeeal suspicious." Po extended every e in the word and even added a few extra. "He just wouldn't leave me alone, and even whispered something to someone else to keep on eye on me."

    "So how did you get away?"

    Po just looked at me. "Come on Mo. You know who I am. You think I am going to let some waiter stand between me and the door? I just waited until he was busy in the back and just left. No one saw me."

    I knew I would be back in that area - that very hotel - again regularly for business, so I didn't want the restaurant looking out for me. Not that I thought that they would, but I didn't want to take any chances.

    So, the next day I phoned and spoke to the manager on duty and explained that we had left because I'd come down with some kind of food poisoning. The girl at the other end of the line sounded like she'd just moved over from Encino. The nasaly Valley Girl accent may have gone out with the eighties, but no one had bothered to tell her obviously.

    "What else did you eat that day?" she asked me. Her tone wasn't in the slightest challenging, but rather know-it-all. "Because, you know - food poisoning takes a while to set in." The only thing missing from her Valley Girl act was the word "like." She had excised that in a sort of revisionist approach to the Encino female accent.

    I told her that I hadn't had anything else to eat the entire day other than a protein bar, which was actually true.

    "Well then," she started in again, "maybe you got sick because you had an empty stomach."

    We ended the call with my getting the general manager's direct line. I phoned him immediately, knowing he wouldn't be there, and left a very complete and calculating voice mail - complaining primarily about the fact that his hostess had questioned the possibility of my having food poisoning from their food. I added that I would be out of town for a week, but would call back.

    A couple of days later the manager left a voice mail for me - all routine, he sounded very sincere, and apologized for the whole incident. Come to think of it, Po had mentioned to me when he got into the car after his getaway that he'd even told the waiter that I had gone to the bathroom because I was feeling ill. Amazing how great minds think alike.

    It even seemed to me that if I had called again he would have comped us another meal. But, I left it at that. I actually meant to phone again, but I got busy and over time, forgot. In any case, we had dined, we had dashed, and no one, at least officially, could accuse us of anything. For all they knew, we were another customer who had let them off easy rather than joining in with a lawsuit, which was the usual conclusion of such matters in sue happy southern California.


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