Skip to comments.Italian tourist busted at posh East Side steakhouse for forgetting wallet (Arrested in NYC)
Posted on 01/25/2013 6:58:33 AM PST by jimbo123
Welcome to New York, pal now go to jail.
An Italian tourist spent his second night in the city behind bars after staff at an upscale East Side steakhouse called cops when he claimed he left his wallet at a friends place.
Graziano Graziussi, a 43-year-old lawyer from Naples, is a regular at Smith & Wollensky but this time, barely 24 hours into his latest two-week stay in New York, he realized he didnt have his wallet on him when a waiter presented him with the $208 bill Monday night.
I forgot my wallet, the clean-cut Graziussi told the waiter but the staff at the Third Ave. eatery wasnt buying it, even after Graziussi offered some pricey collateral while he went to get the cash about 30 blocks uptown.
I was going to leave my iPhone, he said. I suggested they bring a bus boy with me. . . . It would have been an easy trip.
But the general manager called police instead.
(Excerpt) Read more at nydailynews.com ...
If you going to go;go big!
That will happen in quite a few places. I’ve heard of the local Denny’s doing it to people.
A lot of people use this as a tactic to skip out on their bill.
If that is the full and true story the guy offered collateral of some sort, and would go accompanied to get the cash, then the restaurant are a bunch of hard asses. No wonder less and less people want to visit the USA these days. Its OK, many people don’t want foreigners visiting, but it just means less revenue for everybody stateside, particularly the tourism industry. I swear sometimes it might be renamed the United States of Overreaction (I feel this just about every time I hear the Marine Corps-type yelling of TSA at common citizens). I’d never eat at such a restaurant. A working phone is no small thing to leave behind.
At a gas station in town, someone pumped a full tank of gas and had forgotten their wallet so they left their child while they ran home to get it. Two hours later, the gas station called the cops. When they finally tracked the woman down, she told them she got busy on something else and forgot.
Must have been the middle child.
Regarding the Wal-Mart of cuisine, Dennys, sure, folks you might see on C.O.P.S., — well, I’ll buy that perhaps. There are a lot of scumbags out there wanting something for free and I can envision such a trick, particularly in this economy and this entitled Obama society. I just do not see it in a foreign tourist coming all the way to the US for a free meal...particularly first time here and all.
The article says he was a regular customer, which makes it even weirder.
I agree with you completely. The article implied the man was a regular at this restaurant when he came to NYC. Don’t you think the staff would have recognized that fact and allowed him to get the money? I don’t think this man was intending to stiff the restaurant on the bill. Of course he should have brought his wallet but this was a huge overreaction by this restaurant I believe.
First of all I would have guessed he was Sicilian. But...
It says he was a regular. They wouldn't let him go get his wallet, even after he offered collateral and to be accompanied?
“The article implied the man was a regular at this restaurant when he came to NYC. Dont you think the staff would have recognized that fact and allowed him to get the money? I dont think this man was intending to stiff the restaurant on the bill. Of course he should have brought his wallet but this was a huge overreaction by this restaurant I believe.”
And maybe the article’s working hard to create that impression, telling us the offender is “clean-cut”.
In the middle of the dinner shift, I am supposed to tell a paid employee to abandon his work station to accompany a deadbeat on a wild goose chase?
Give me a break.
And what am I going to do with someone else's phone as collateral? Sell it on the black market? Go to the service provider and explain to them that I want it deactivated from its current user without his authorization and transferred to me? Which restaurant employee gets the used phone? Do they all share it? Not to mention that a used previous generation iPhone with no plan costs less online that the $200+ check this guy skipped out on.
No wonder less and less people want to visit the USA these days.
If you look at the statistics, more and more people visit the US every year. Don't invent "facts" to bolster your weak argument.
And if an American tried to pull a similar stunt in Italy, he'd get the cops called on him too.
And it would have absolutely zero impact on any rational American's desire to visit Italy.
I can't believe the sob stories FReepers fall for sometimes.
He should have checked to see if he had his wallet before he ordered anything.
“It’s so crowded that nobody goes there any more.”
(I think this is one of Yogi’s)
And how would I as a restaurant owner know or care who the person was or where they were from and whether they had been here before.
Plenty of “high class” wealthy people are thieves.
Yes it sucks, and they are getting plenty of bad press over it. As a business owner who has had customers bail on their bill I can’t say I blame them too much.
Let’s just say alcohol was involved.
“I need to get some gas to go to the drink house but I need a babysitter for little LaPancreas. Oh wait.....”.
Especially if, as the story said, the man was a regular at the restaurant.
A few years back, my wife and I were traveling and stopped at a motel in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. I left my wife in the motel room and went to fill the gas tank. Forgot my wallet and didn’t even think about it until the gas tank was full. I was a couple of miles from the motel and figured I’d have to walk back to get my wallet but the attendant told me to just drive back, get it and then come and pay for my gas, no collateral, just my word. Boy, did I ever stiff that guy!
Just kidding, I went back and paid for my gas.
If the guido’s story is legit then the friend could have been called and asked to bring the wallet.
I noticed that too. Most people reading the article don't realize that this is not really a neighborhood restaurant.
It's a steakhouse that caters to a business crowd - I've probably been there 50 or so times, just because it's a "default" option for client dinners, and I doubt the staff would recognize me.
The place is generally packed, turnover is high, and most parties are 6 or more. Not a place where you linger wistfully with a bottle of wine and chat with the waiters - it's a fast-paced joint.
Define a regular when he visits NYC. Most likely, he eats there once or twice a year when he visits. This is not Mayberry, where someone new stands out like a sore thumb.
“What’sa matta you, hey
Gotta no respect, whatta you think you do
Why you looka so sad?
It’s-a not so bad, it’s-a nice-a place
Ah, shaddap you face”
I believe in this instance the customer was legit. But this restaurant and others have been burned at least once too often. It has nothing to do with foreigners or where the customer came from. It had to do with where his wallet was or wasn’t.
In a restaurant, eating a meal then suddenly discovering you don’t have your wallet is pretty unacceptable behavior. If they had let the guy go and he never came back, and they had even one or two customers a week pull that stunt, they are out their tight profit margins. It’s no different than shoplifting which stores prosecute vigorously for very small amounts of $.
What real value would his cell have if he skipped out? Sell it on craigslist for less than the dinner tab? Maybe he could have called his host and asked him/her to bring his wallet to the restaurant instead of his leaving to get it, as he wanted to do? It’s unfortunate when honest people get caught up in a situation like this, but businesses, especially restaurants, have to deal with too many con artists.
never expect sympathy in New York City.
If they’re doing it to regulars, then they are pretty dumb, in my opinion. People don’t skip out on bills at restaurants that they frequent with regularity. What’s the point? They’ll just want you to pay the next time you are there.
Leaving a stolen i-phone as security, no doubt.
Why is this a story... this is an everyday event.
‘The article says he was a regular customer, which makes it even weirder.’
Good thing he wasn’t carrying a 32oz soda or the charge would have been aggravated robbery.
No steak dinner is worth $200. The owners are the ones who are making out like bandits.
Graziano Graziussi, a 43-year-old lawyer from Naples...
He says he's 43? I wouldn't beleive anything else he says. ;)
I feel for the guy, but what’s the restaurant supposed to do? I cannot imagine the number of customers this place gets in a week. It’s harsh, but I can’t blame the restaurant manager.
“And how would I as a restaurant owner know or care who the person was or where they were from and whether they had been here before.”
Well, many restaurant owners are quite hands on, they know their regular customers because that is their bread and butter, so they take care of them. The waitstaff certainly knows the regulars, and whether they are good tippers or not.
One its a small town of friendly people.
Second, he had you and your license plate on video.
“If the guidos story is legit then the friend could have been called and asked to bring the wallet.”
Good point and one that I glossed over. You are of course spot on, especially considering that he had his Iphone with him!
Hey,I hada a harda a life!
“Theyll just want you to pay the next time you are there.”
Very true. In my pre-Dave Ramsey days, there was a local tavern that I would frequent quite regularly. Usually, I had cash and would pay as I was consuming, however on one particularly celebratory night I started a tab and completely forgot about it. They certainly had it ready for me and of course carried over the LARGE tip for the bartender that worked that evening!
I was rather appreciative that they kept it for me and told me about it, rather than to take any other action or to just be bitter against me on future visits!
This story is in the NY Post as well, and probably in the news in and around NYC. This is not good press for Smith & Wollensky ... the $200.00 is just a fraction of the money they will lose as a result.
I want to get paid, I don’t want a cell phone. What the heck am I going to do with a cell phone???
Its NYC, regular is a broad term. Is he there twice a year or twice a week.
I’d wager its twice a year.
I doubt it will impact their business in the slightest.
(1) If a con artist offers to leave a phone, frequently the mark will not actually take him up on it, either because it makes the scammer seem more trsutworthy or the mark thinks "what am I going to do with this phone, what a hassle" or both.
(2) Pretty much every legitimate phone comes with a replacement option if it's lost, so as long as you're scamming an amount of money that is larger than the replacement plan cost, you're still in the black even if you didn't get away with as much as you hoped.
Maybe. I eat at Wollensky’s grill, which is next door. They serve a hamburger for $17.50. It is every bit as good as you would expect an $18 hamburger to be.
They will not lose a cent of business.
The place is packed every day.
And also their customers are not really individuals - they are firms: banks, law firms, consulting firms, etc.
If I were a banker taking out 10 clients for a steak, am I going to care about this one deadbeat's sob story and change my plans? Not in the slightest.
Will the clients, who are getting a free meal on my firm's expense line, care at all about this deadbeat's sob story either? No chance.
New Yorkers know that people scam restaurants all the time.
I know the manager of a supermarket he’s said the same thing.
One of their regular customers stiffed them several times with the same story.
Never seemed to remember to bring the money after she got the groceries home.
It wasn’t as if she didn’t have the money to pay, she did. In fact she was quite wealthy.
She was just a thief.
She asked them to please keep the cart of bagged groceries, so that she could fetch the checkbook from home and come back to get them. The store manager suggested that she instead take the groceries home, put the cold things away, and then come back and give them a check. No ID was even asked for. Now it was a good neighborhood, but I was stunned at the level of trust.
Another time when in Naples, Italy, I and a friend went to dinner. When the bill came, we discovered that they did not take VISA. We only had enough cash to cover about 70% of the bill. We asked for the owner and explained our mistake, offering that one of us would stay, while the other retrieved more cash. The nice woman, looked over our bill and told us that the 70% we had would cover our bill. It was a nice and unexpected offer. Had I had the opportunity, I would have returned with the other 30% later, but ship movement prevented it.
But that point is neutralized earlier, as they also said he was a lawyer.
He's not a deadbeat. He forgot his wallet.
Give me a break.
No, I don't think I will. You're the manager of a famous restaurant, at a prominent Manhattan location. You have years of experience dealing with people, serving high-end customers and taking care of special needs. Being a people person, you have a certain flair for handling awkward situations and for being a good judge of who deserves your patience and who doesn't. If the Italian diner doesn't deserve a break, then neither does the manager who so royally screwed up. Because life is hard and unforgiving and we don't make special allowances for other people's stupid blunders -- even when they mean well. Right?
And what am I going to do with someone else's phone as collateral?
Take good care of it till he gets back. Do you think the guy's a street punk swiping people's phones? Clearly it's an expensive device and full of data the man will want to get back. It's reasonable evidence of his bona fides.
No, you come on. The manager proved to be a bad judge of character, playing the New York hard ass and grossly insulting a guest over a paltry $208 check (at a restaurant that must gross $75,000 every day). He should be fired.
Just the other week I was at the grocery store checkout, the total was over $150 and when I opened my purse, my wallet was missing. I suspected I had left it on the seat of my car and not left it a home since I had gotten gas before going to the grocery store. Of course, unlike an already consumed restaurant meal, after telling the clerk, I left the already bagged groceries at the checkout went out to my car and came back and paid. The clerk however seemed more than a little annoyed and being that I am a regular customer at that store, I didnt really appreciate her attitude.
All while wolfing down the prime steaks and toasting each other for the latest bank fee they put over on everyone.
True. I wouldn’t consider that a regular, but maybe the writer or the guy in the story does. As far as I’m concerned, if the host and waitstaff doesn’t know you on sight, you’re not a regular.