Turns out that mandatory 18% gratuity for large parties at restaurants is mandatory enough that skipping it can get you arrested. A Philadelphia-area couple who found service at a pub was so scarce they essentially waited on themselves and their six friends ended up in cuffs when they refused to tip their server. “I understand that, you know, we didn’t pay the gratuity,” one of the patrons tells NBC Philadelphia, “but it was a gratuity, it wasn’t something that was required.”
After waiting nearly an hour for their order and fetching their own napkins, silverware, and drink refills—because the waitress never came back, says the customer—they made their intentions known to the bar manager, who promptly called the cops. Police charged them with theft because the tip actually was required. The bar says it offered to comp the food; the diners say they don’t recall that.