Word of Mouth

Tipping the scales: Be glad this cheapskate doesn't live in Denver

During Denver Restaurant Week, one of the most common complaints from servers is that bargain-hunting customers just don't tip.

They should just be glad that Monica Covington does not live in Denver, Colorado. I'm not sure what would be worse: having to suffer through serving Covington and then not getting a tip, or having to suffer through sitting at her table and watching all this. Just how bad is this woman? She makes the person behind the window at your local DMV look like an angel.

Covington lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she was a regular at Kanpai, a traditional Japanese restaurant. And just as regularly, management there says, Covington was undertipping -- or not tipping at all. So they started putting tips on her bill. When she complained, they banned her for life from their establishment. And, in turn, she started a petition to demand fair treatment from the owners, who she claims are discriminating against her.

Covington had been going to Kanpai for two years, and was a chronic bad tipper, according to manager Michael Lam. His staff and his kitchen had been vociferous about her tipping habits, and Lam says he had no choice but to ban her -- because no one wanted to cook her meals or serve her.

Still, Covington managed to enlist the help of her church and gathered over 300 signatures to demand fair practices. But as far as I can see, the only unfair practices here were all Covington's.

Yes, if your dining experienced has been cannonballed by bad service, you might respond by being chintzy with your tip -- but if you continue to behave in a manner that's not fit for human consumption (unlike yummy tempura), you're just asking to be blackballed.

The situation has gotten so bad that there's now a fake Yelp.com page dedicated to Covington.

I don't know who set this up, but in the era of instant gratification, I'm sure the owners of Kanpai appreciate the love -- if not the virtual gutting of Monica's gullet.

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