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Supervisor Tom Would Rather Not Pay That Surcharge

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As you may or may not recall, last Thursday was Dining Out For Life, which meant that a) 25% of all food sales went straight to the Stop Aids project and b) it was a big night for restaurants. At 2223 Restaurant, one of the people partaking in the festivities was Supervisor Tom Ammiano, and according to San Francisco Magazine's inchoate blog—yes, they have a blog now—Ammiano and his party flat-out refused to pay the four percent health care surcharge:

According to the restaurant's chef-owner, Melinda Randolph, city supervisor Tom Ammiano dined there with five other guests, one of whom purportedly refused to pay the four percent service charge of $13.31 implemented by the restaurant to offset the cost of the Ammiano-sponsored Healthy San Francisco program. They did, however, tip 20 percent on top of the 18 percent large-party gratuity. "I was gobsmacked," Randolph says. "The service charge is intended to help mom-and-pop businesses like us deal with a $4,000-a-month increase in expenses."

More from SF Mag, and the supe himself:

As Ammiano tells it, his friend, San Francisco Labor Council executive board member Criss Romero, was the guest who made a stink. Romero concurs ..."I believe that because these restaurants don't itemize anything else on their checks besides food and drink, they're trying to draw attention to the issue," he says. "We wanted a pleasant evening without politics being introduced."
This isn't the first time we've heard complaints about restaurants rubbing the issues in diners' faces, and it's a very valid complaint. However, regardless of what you may think of the health care issue—and more importantly for our purposes here, the questionable ways that restaurants are handling the situation—isn't the diner obligated to pay a restaurant's bill, no matter the politics? Isn't that a social contract that one agrees to when choosing/dining in a restaurant? In other words, even if you agree with the stance taken, were Ammiano and his party right or wrong to duck the surcharge?
· Staff blog 4/29/08 [SF Mag]

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