Waitress fired over pastor's Applebee's receipt

The company is critical of both sides after an employee posts a photo of a customer's message regarding a tip: 'I give God 10%. Why do you get 18?'

By Jason Notte Feb 1, 2013 3:22PM
What would Jesus do at Applebee's? Call it a hunch, but we're guessing the same guy who turned scraps of bread and bait into a full-on feast and got a party going by turning water into wine wouldn't stiff the waitress.

A server at an Applebee's near St. Louis has been fired, according to Consumerist, after posting a receipt on Reddit from another waitress's customer who crossed out an 18% gratuity and wrote in "I give God 10%. Why do you get 18?" while identifying herself as a pastor. The amount of the disputed tip was $6.29.

DineEquity (DINE)-owned Applebees, meanwhile, issued a statement on Facebook that both justified the firing while condemning the customer's message. As Applebee's spokesman Dan Smith explained to Huffington Post after the company fired the employee -- identified as Chelsea Welch in news reports -- exposing guests' personal information all over the Internet is a big no-no and grounds for immediate dismissal.

Fair, especially given that a little photo editing would have kept that info private. But the note left by the customer, identified by The Smoking Gun as St. Louis pastor Alois Bell, represents a fundamental misunderstanding of both tipping policy and the Christian act of tithing.Image: Credit card (Tetra Images/Tetra Images/Corbis/Corbis)

According to company policy stated right at the bottom of the menu, a gratuity of 18% is automatically added for parties of eight or more. Bell's check was part of a party of nearly 20, according to the employee.

Bell, a pastor at the Truth in the Word Deliverance Ministries church in St. Louis, says her interpretation of the gratuity was a "lapse in judgment that has been blown out of proportion" and claims she left a $6 cash tip on top of what was originally charged. However, her spur-of-the-moment logic completely left out that the tithe that members of a church take out of their income goes not "to God" but to charitable organizations, the church organization itself and, often enough, the pastor to cover the living expenses of a meager existence required by their faith.

This isn't Chelsea's get-out-of-jail-free card for putting Bell's information and signature in Reddit's Atheist subcategory because "I thought other users would find it entertaining," but it doesn't make Bell's ministry look too great as a result either. She seems to know that all too well.

"My heart is really broken," she told The Smoking Gun. "I've brought embarrassment to my church and ministry."

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Feb 1, 2013 6:04PM
I'm gonna say I've always thought the "big party = automatic big tip" policy is crap.  If the party of 20 spent $20-$30 each, then the bill would have been $400 - $600, and the automatic gratuity of 18% would have been $72-$108(!).  I'm thinking that if the waitress helped NO ONE ELSE for that 60-90 minutes, then she's getting paid anywhere from $48 to $108 PER HOUR.  Truth is she was probably waiting other tables too and picking up those tips. Considering that at that rate she would be making more than most people with college degrees and experience in business, I think the pastor has a point about "why do you get 18%?"  I understand that there may be sharing with other employees; still, the tipping custome has gotten way out of hand.  Now ask me what I think about realtors who make $8K on a home sale for a few hours of work . . . .
Feb 1, 2013 5:22PM

An interesting philosophical question: if God created the universe out of nothing, is there anything he couldn't create and thus have to buy?


Seconddary question: given the amount of war, desiese, porverty, acts of violence, and natural disasters in recent memory, do we think God deserves the tip?


Yeah, yeah, we all get the usual "do unto the least of others you do unto me" bit to make us think Jeasus would more likely double the tip as complain about it.  Still, I work in finance, and bad sarcasm on the receipt is just a bad way to lodge a compalint about your bill.  It'll most likely be ignored and makes you look to afraid to make a personal complaint because you might get out argued on the point if you actually speak to a manager.  Coming froma  holy person, I think somone's going be a joke on Bill Maher tonight.

Feb 1, 2013 5:03PM
I'd hire Chelsea if I had a business in St. Louis.  Churches are businesses and should lose their tax exempt status.  I'd like to see this heffa explain how she was christ-like.  Tax the churches and publish each and every incident of pastors behaving badly.

If you don't want to tip, go somewhere with a drive through.  If you go to a table service restaurant with  a policy of adding a mandatory 18% tip for parties over a certain size, then follow their rules.

Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and render unto Chelsea what is Chelsea's.

I don't believe for one second that this heffa left a $6 cash tip.  I hope others speak out against her and I hope her crappy little church closes soon.

The irony is that this reverend is NOT giving 10% to God but 10% to herself. This waitress is making about $2.30 an hour and trying to live off tips. I'm sure this same pastor would empathize with those in need who receive government entitlements because they're in need.   This is a disgrace and if this pastor's flock isn't outraged and looking for a new church, there's something wrong with them.
Feb 1, 2013 5:02PM
Sounds like St. Louis pastor Alois Bell is not only rude but a liar about the cash tip on the table. If this nutritionally obese pastor of some obscure pseudo-church doesn't realize waitpersons get paid about $3.50 and rely on tips to make a living wage, then she and her large group of friends should go volunteer at a mission that serves free meals to the homeless, and get a free meal for doing it, and not have to leave a tip either. She should beg forgiveness of the waitress that the pastor caused to get fired and plead with Applebees to reinstate the waitress. What a piece of Ghetto garbage!
That is why anyting to do with GOD is bad new all around!
Feb 1, 2013 4:44PM
Why do people think that by tithing they are giving money to "God".....what makes you think "God" needs money ....it is nothing more than an emotional insurance policy that fools people into thinking they are noble and good while breaking pretty much every one of the so called seven deadly sins ...glutton and avarice being #1 & 2 !!!


Feb 1, 2013 4:43PM
Thats the last time I eat at Apple Bee !!!!

Feb 1, 2013 4:31PM

What a turkey. What has one thing to do with the other.We don't tip GOD, and the tithe is the amount that one gives the church to pay the pastor and keep up the church. On the other hand, when one goies out to eat and someone waits on them, it is customary to tip the server. That's nothing new. we have  been tipping servers for many years In fact we also tip the preachers by putting money in the offering plate at the end of the sermon, usually in addition to the monthly tithes we usually give..

What that pastor needs is a good butt kicking from the LORD and a good dose of salvation. 

Feb 1, 2013 4:12PM

What are 20 of them doing at Appleby's, probably the most expensive lunch place around, besides Chili's?


That's about $800 for lunch!!


Why not mcDonald's for a buck a  hamburg if they're trying to be humble, conservative, and supposedly doing God's work?


That would have been about $100!!


That's called:  "Holier than Thou"!

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