Thou Shalt Not “Dine and Dash”: A Ten Commandments’ Tale

perhaps, due his delivering of manna from heaven prior to the epic mt. sinai moment, at the time that he laid out the ten commandments, he wasn’t thinking too much about restaurants. thus, did god forget to add the 11th commandment: “though shalt not dine and dash?”

for those unfamiliar, “dine and dash” happens when restaurant customers order food and eat, and leave before paying the bill. thus, both the restaurant is not paid and the server is denied a tip. a study found that 5 percent of diners have engaged in such activity.

due to technology, the “dine and dash” phenomena has gotten worse. a new version of “dine and dash,” according to the la times, involves “scammers tak[ing] advantage of internet ordering to use fraudulent credit cards or request refunds, claiming they never received part or all of an order. ” 

“dine and dash,” taken on a micro-level may be viewed as benign by some, has had serious consequences and has destroyed businesses as the amount of the activity combined with the pandemic have hurt sales.

in los angeles, it was reported that “the korean fusion cafe “spoon by h,” a new and emerging small business shut down in part due to the “dine and dash” phenomena. the owner and chef yoonjin hwang worked 15-hour days to run the restaurant with her mother and brother. one day, hwang got her biggest order ever, for more than $700. “he came and he picked up the food, and then one week later he disputed the charge,” hwang said.” cbsnews

while “dine and dash” is a theft and falls under the “thou shalt not steal” commandment, is there another commandment that applies? when individuals are at restaurants, they are given a menu. most menus have prices attached to the items. thus, when the server asks an individual what they would like, the individual is telling the server that they want a particular item and agree that the charge for it will be that which is listed in the menu. in that circumstances, if the individual, prior to giving their order, had already decided to “dine and dash,” they are also lying to the server when asking for the item. thus, a second commandment could arguably be at play in tallying this moral violation.

“dine and dash” has also extension beyond food. in burbank, california, a hair stylist had someone “dash” out of a very expensive and extensive salon session.

what can be done? teaching children morals and values is the key. schools should take the time to discuss “dine and dash” and why it is wrong. they need to be taught how business owners and their workers are impacted. they need to be explained that if it becomes an epidemic that businesses such as “spoon by h” will close. they need to be explained that all of the workers at the business will lose their jobs as well. finally, they should be taught that they will also suffer as their “eat out” opportunities will diminish. perhaps, their favorite restaurants will close.

be well!!

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Published by biblelifestudies

I am a practicing lawyer and long term admirer of the bible

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