Hot New Trend: Not Paying Your Restaurant Bill

Check out the hot new trend sweeping posh Manhattan restaurants: Eating your meal, then running away before you pay the check! "Theft of service" was up 20 percent last year, and the people doing it weren't just poor jerks.

The New York Post reports from the trenches of dining and dashing, the hot new trend among rich people:

"Adam" is a waiter's nightmare. The 35-year-old accountant, who lives in Brooklyn and asked that his real name not be used, has been known to skip out on the check at restaurants. Once he and three friends racked up a $300 tab at B.B. King's in Times Square, then stepped outside for a cigarette. It wasn't until they saw a pedicab passing by that they decided the night's bill would be on the house. Explaining his occasional adventures in the criminal world, Adam shrugs and says, "Sometimes you're drunk or, I don't know…"

If you ever meet "Adam," throw a drink in his face for me. But don't splash too much! Someone has to clean that up, you know.

There's this one guy straight out of Brooks Brothers with the bow tie, the suspenders, the little turned-up moustache like the Monopoly guy [sitting] at the bar drinking martinis […] He had five of them and said, ‘I can't believe this—I forgot my wallet! This is so embarrassing. I live right across the park. I'll be right back.' Then he didn't come back, and I found out he's done that four or five other times.

Recently, a group of eight 30-somethings came into Mehtaphor about 45 minutes before their reservation, demanding to be seated. Their table wasn't ready, so the group opted to wait at the bar, where it ran up a tab of more than $100. But as its table was being set up a few minutes before the scheduled reservation time, the group harrumphed that it would no longer wait—skipping out on the bar tab, too.

An 8-person dine 'n' dash sounds difficult to coordinate. Not even one of them was kind of slow, or was wearing hard-to-run-in shoes? Maybe dine 'n' dashers should be the new subway perverts, the urban nuisances we take out with vigilante attack squads? We couldn't stop Wall Street from ruining our 401k's, but we can stop that guy who just stole a medium-rare flank steak. [NYPost, image via Lisa F. Young/Shutterstock]