A woman who ploughed her way through R1‚300 worth of meals and margaritas with a male companion at a Cape Town restaurant and left without paying the bill‚ has been shamed on social media into settling the debt.
Celeste Perry‚ an irate co-owner of the Fat Cactus Cafe‚ posted video footage on her Facebook page of a man and woman‚ who spent most of Saturday afternoon savouring a meal and flirting.
“These two people spent the afternoon at our restaurant in gardens on Saturday and ran away without paying their R1‚300 bill. Please share! It’s not about the money but it is about people knowing about their horrible characters. Let’s make them famous #sies‚” said a post accompanying the video.
The video‚ viewed 334‚384 times by 1.30pm on Tuesday‚ unleashed a withering storm of criticism on social media. Some commentators spewed venom‚ describing the couple’s behaviour as despicable. “They should be tortured until they die‚” said one observer.
Others suggested the couple should turn the tables and sue the restaurant for posting a defamatory video about them.
The commotion proved to be too much for a woman who confessed‚ on the page‚ that it was her in the video.
“This man … is a womaniser‚ he played me just like all the other women‚ that have and are now coming out and saying how he played them too‚” she said on Perry’s Facebook page.
“I had no money‚ he already owed me money and he knew that I had no money ….
“My family has lent me the money so I am coming to pay it!
“I am truly very sorry – Please can all the other women that he has done this too please come out‚” she pleaded.
Perry told TMG Digital that the woman arrived at the restaurant shortly after 1pm to apologise on Tuesday.
“She has paid the money. She has apologised. I’ve chatted to my business partners and I feel that she has been embarrassed enough‚” she said.
“I think the social media backlash has been much bigger than we expected‚ overwhelming really. Their faces are all over Cape Town and I don’t think it is necessary to lay a police charge.
“The public embarrassment is quite something. Amazing how social media works. I didn’t realise it was that powerful‚” she said.
The woman also left a tip for the waitress who served her.
Merin Nienaber replied to the comments on Facebook‚ saying that he knew the woman as a “loving mother with four children” who was from KwaZulu-Natal.
“She is also a free-spirited rock star type who likes to party hard and is a‚ let’s say‚ Sons of Anarchy kinda girl. Her biggest failing is being drawn to abusive men‚ and the chick moves from one douche to the next‚ almost pathologically.
“Her version is that the guy ran up a huge bill‚ said person went to talk to manager about something‚ dude skipped out‚ said person waited 20 minutes‚ panicked and left. She has since contacted the restaurant and offered to pay the whole bill. This could happen to anyone‚ give the woman a break.”
TMG Digital reported in February this year how a popular pub and grub style restaurant at an historic hotel in Port Elizabeth also took to social media to shame customers who walked out without paying their R700 bill.
The Stage Door at the historic Phoenix Hotel in Port Elizabeth had footage of the cheating foursome from their CCTV camera‚ so were able to identify them.
After first asking them on the restaurant’s Facebook page to come forward and pay their bill‚ and giving the three men and a woman a deadline to do so‚ manager Nicholas Ofsowitz opened a case with the SAPS. He then briefly posted their photos on Facebook‚ which he took down after they were identified.
The couple came forward and agreed to take responsibility for the bill‚ blaming their dining companions for doing a runner.
Under South African law‚ a case of fraud can be opened against people who fail to pay their hotel or restaurant charges. The guest may also be sued by the establishment for payment of the bill.