Doing a runner


People are terrible.

Absolutely disgusting behavior.

“Some people may think they are able to justify their actions morally.” No, there is absolutely NO justification.

I do hope the McDonaghs enjoy their prison food as much as their dine-and-dash meals.


Oof. I could understand if a person is hungry and broke and lacking a way to get a meal, but the incidents in the story are not about that situation.

Many years ago, I (briefly) dated this woman that had done something similar.

She went to a small local bar (I wasn’t with her that evening), opened up a tab with a dead credit card… ate a bunch a food, drank like a fish and left. At the end of the night, when the bartender couldn’t find her, he attempted to run the card and got nothing.

When she laughed & told me the next day, what she had done. I went down to the bar and paid the tab. The owner was surprised that I had done this, but I didn’t want him to be out the money. I didn’t know if he was going to file charges against her or not, but that would have been the last thing she needed. I immediately broke up with her after that.

Oddly, she sought me out a few months later and reimbursed me (in cash). I never thought I would ever see that money again.


Kinda makes one see the sense of using a QR code ordering system as my son’s work place does. They can run your card immediately and verify that it is good. Also, you can add a tip to your order but if you don’t, the tab automatically closes out after a certain amount of time and adds 20%.


this happens more than people realize, at least in the U.S.

i feel worse for the servers, who are stiffed on the tips (no matter how little or not)

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Sometimes I have felt we’ve been given the twice look-over when we’ve gone out to eat, especially when we’ve been asked by the server BEFORE ORDERING, “and how will you be paying for your meal/experience tonight?”. Usually this happens when we’ve been trying a new place or are dining out of our area. The first time we experienced this was at a resort in Fairmont, B.C. several years ago. Has dining out really become so complicated? Is it a result of the time of Covid?

Hopefully she realized what a jerk she was and amended her behavior. One can always hope.

Years ago I was at a bar\restaurant in AC. It was in a glassed-in pier with beautiful views of the ocean (so it was not an inexpensive place). There were two couples across from us at the bar–eating, drinking, bantering with the bartender and other patrons. They left and the bartender looked around shocked–yep they had dashed. We all chipped in extra to try to soften the blow. Fortunately that was my first and last experience with this awful behavior (that I know of).

Not sure why this type of behavior is on the rise. There have certainly been eras of financial difficulty in the past that did not result in people trying to take advantage of local businesses.


I remember some acquaintances back in college (ca. early '80s) who did this for sport. I thought they were being assholes, and told them so, but they kept doing it.

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The one time I did something like this I was in middle school. It was winter, dark & cold AF, and my GF and I were craving a hot chocolate. We went to a cafe in the center of town & each ordered one to warm up. When we counted our collective cash funds, we realized that we were a couple of DMs short. We were super-embarrassed, and I suggested that we put the money on the table, and slowly put on our coats and leave. My friend drops her coins on the table, grabs her coat & RUNS out of the cafe. Needless to say I had to do the same at this point :scream:

I was so embarrassed and terrified of any consequences that I gave the cafe a wide berth for at least half a year.

For anyone wondering: no, I’ve never done anything like that again.


I went to a business recruitment dinner for a medical group recently (same one during which I ate lamb loin ribs with my hands :grimacing:) . The host did not attend, and we were assured it was taken care of. Even though I have only read about this “runner” business, and never knowingly witnessed it, I was terrified that that might be happening!

There is an Oakland CA nail salon that has lost ~$1k due to people ordering the works and then running.

They may start charging in advance.

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I’ve seen stories in the news of even groups of people doing dine & dash.


it used to be a TikTok thing.

Sort of the opposite thing happened to my husband in Kolkata. He and our son adore a breakfast buffet, so they went to the Taj Bengal luxury hotel intending to have a blockbuster breakfast and pay per head. I didn’t go as I’m bad value at a buffet, more so at an expensive hotel one. So they walked in, made it clear to the front-of-house staff member that they weren’t hotel guests and were told, that’s not a problem. Then they spent a nice morning stuffing themselves silly. But when my husband tried to pay, any staff he flagged down just politely said, no sir, it’s included. Even though he kept saying he wasn’t a guest. I don’t know if the problem was his Australian accent or exceedingly trustful staff. Then he had to go to the front lobby waving a handful of cash saying, I want to pay for having the buffet. A nonplussed lady then escorted him back to the dining area and sorted things out. But he told me he could have easily walked out without paying and nobody would have noticed. Maybe it’s not a thing in India? But this was before the pandemic.


The QR method illustrates how dine and dash is a nefarious form of fraud – using false pretenses (we’re taking a seat and promising to pay) to cheat another of property. It’s especially nefarious because so many small operator victims face a very fine edge between profit and loss, and aren’t equipped to recover their loss and more from the bad actors – even if they could be identified and hauled into court.

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I’m sure it’s a problem, but I’m having trouble swallowing that 1 of 20 number. Trying to track down the survey and get a peek at methods. Unfortunately, the “one in 20 people” hyperlink in the Guardian just points to another article discussing the same thing, which also doesn’t link the study.

Edit - can’t find it. Apparently it was around February 2018, and commissioned by Barclaycard, who coincidentally were at the time trying to roll out an immediate payment system or app they were going to call “Dine & Dash”, which would permit diners to simply walk out without having to wait for the check.

Edit2 - this February 2018 article in The Independent is the only contemporaneous report I can find about this mysterious survey (and the independent doesn’t link to anything about it, either).

Note the import here differs a bit from the Guardian’s more recent take on it (which is justified because their main point is about people doing it gleefully and maliciously):

  • The research revealed fed-up restaurant goers have skipped the bill - because they were sick of waiting for the cheque.

So that 1-in-20 number may be more closely aligned with “have you ever, in your life, skipped out on a check because it didn’t come for a half hour?”

Versus the implication that “a 2018 study found that one in 20 have walked out without paying - and it’s becoming even more common now”.