Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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restaurant payment protocol

Hand out the credit card as you say "Check, please".
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To pay with a credit card in a restaurant, one asks for the check, gets the piece of paper, puts the credit card into the container that holds the piece of paper, gets back two more pieces of paper, adds a tip, and signs.

This has unnecessarily many steps. The first check is just a way of getting a container for a credit card.

Now, credit cards are quite durable; they're known to survive even outside the little plastic envelope inside the fake leather wallet that sticks them out just so.

Why not hand off the credit card to the passing server as a gesture that indicates "check, please?"

jutta, Aug 20 1999

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       For some reason, Americans are a little ashamed by money. I don't know why, everybody knows you go to a restaraunt for the purpose of paying someone to make and deliver food to you, but the waitrons still seem ashamed to give you the check, trying to sneak it onto the table, or delivering a little leather-bound book with a mint and pen...This idea seems good to me, just hand them the card and get it over with.
StarChaser, Oct 24 1999
  

       The first round of check presentation serves as an opportunity to verify the accuracy of the bill. By handing them the credit card, you are saying, "I trust your accounting" Do you trust their accounting? Ammending a bill _after_ the CC transaction has been entered may be problematic.
btribble, Mar 02 2000
  

       I do this all the time. And yes, most wait-persons will want to show the bill before they ring it up (this is their own protocol.)
Zaphod, May 15 2000
  

       As for verifying the accuracy of the bill, you can always refuse to sign it. Even with the standard (two round) payment protocol you have to check that they rang up the credit card for the correct figure (and this is actually *harder* to do with the original protocol since they don't always include the itemized bill with the credit card slip - who can remember what the total was?).   

       I've never quite understood all the little security protocols that are followed in *some* aspects of the restaurant dining process but not in others. For example, most restaurants follow an elaborate wine handling protocol that makes it all but impossible for them to switch the bottle you bought for a cheaper one or siphon off a few ounces here and there. Even (especially) the best places follow the wine protocol with all deliberate seriousness, implying that people shouldn't be expected to trust even the most well-regarded establishements not to commit what seems to me an absurdly petty kind of theft. But there don't seem to be protocols designed to prevent any of the many other bad things that resturants might to to you, such as poisoning your food, giving you a smaller-than-advertised portion, substituting a lower grade of ingredient, or removing items from your checked coat.   

       The threat model for eating out is strange indeed.
mab, May 15 2000, last modified May 16 2000
  

       I like this idea a lot. It's quite annoying to wait up to several minutes the bill from the server, and then wait several more minutes for your credit card receipt. In busy restaurants at lunchtime I often wind up coming back late from lunch because the servers take too much time to process things.   

       I'm with mab on this one- the threat model of food service is a pain in the butt!
BigThor, Aug 01 2000
  

       I see where you're getting with this, but pain perhaps awaits. I once went to this cheapo restaurant in Indy (I'd say the name of the place to warn you, but I can't remember it) where they served me cold soup and otherwise lousy food. Then they screwed up the bill. It was something really odd, and I think it was goofed AT THE TIME that they rang it up as a credit card purchase. Keep in mind that the scribbled "check" doesn't automatically become one of those yellow credit card slips. They then said that they couldn't change it, or what have you (I forget why; again, something really dumb), so that I should just take it off the tip. Brilliant.   

       Hey, if these morons can screw something like that up, don't trust them with your card without looking at the bill first.
Vance, Feb 08 2001
  

       I like the idea, although I must say, at McDonalds' drive-thru, I've never had a problem
Grog, Sep 17 2002
  
      
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