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Party Foul: Mandatory Coat Check

A few weeks ago, I found myself with a large party at a Manhattan restaurant. As soon as we sat down, our hostess pointed us to the mandatory coat check. The restaurant and bar was by no means formal, and we weren't out at a club with a dance floor, so in this case, I really didn't see the point of it being requirement. Add to that the dilemma of tipping at a coat check. But the worst part of it all? It was the dead of Winter, and the restaurant was bone-chillingly cold, so all of us were shivering at the table.

As I sat there covered in goose bumps, I worried whether I would catch a cold, and wondered how this could be legal. After all, it's no different from built-in tips!

Have you ever been forced to give up your coat and tip on a mandatory coat check? Do share your thoughts and stories below.

Zulkey Zulkey 8 years
yes but that wasn't the worst part of the night--the restaurant refused to cook the meat to to the temperature (well done) my then-bf requested which was really annoying.
it seems like every week you have some issue with restaurants.. parties.. friends.. guests.. maybe you should start looking on the brighter side! (:
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
You cant catch a being cold.
ktjones ktjones 8 years
I have never been forced to check my coat and if a place tried I would leave. I am always cold so I like my coat with me just in case!
hippiecowgirl hippiecowgirl 8 years
Eww. Coat checks kind of creep me out so I tend to skip them unless keeping my coat with me is horribly inconvenient. I'm not sure what I would have done since I've never been in that situation. Seems wrong to me.
opisnowpro opisnowpro 8 years
I've never been anywhere where there's a mandatory coat check, so weird, what if you are cold!!
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
I'd be reluctant to hand over my long wool coat because it's one of the most expensive things I own.
tameeka tameeka 8 years
I've been to some restaurants in NYC that have mandatory coat check. Luckily the host/hostess has never expected a tip and there have never been tip cups hanging around.
LoveSarah LoveSarah 8 years
Well, I live in Florida, so there is no need for coats lol! But, I would be way annoyed if it was mandatory and I was cold and just wanted to keep my coat on. I guess I would tell them I wanted to keep my coat on because I was cold, and if they said I couldn't, I just wouldn't eat there!
HaterTot HaterTot 8 years
Um, no. I've had people claim they have a mandatory coat check, but if I'm cold, I'm not giving it up, period. I've refused with a simple "no, I'm cold" and an icy look and have never been forced to give up anything.
Shellper Shellper 8 years
I'm sure it had to do with the space of the restaurant, storing coats and bags on the backs of chairs is asking for an accident if the room is tight. From my experience as a server in a nice restaurant, the coat is safer in the coat check. We're human, spills or drips happen every night. I'd rather tip the $2 than end up with sangria drips on my peacoat.
AbbyHintz AbbyHintz 8 years
I think I would become enraged, particularly since I'm often cold and rely on my coat. Mandatory? Nothing is mandatory except paying the check. What happens if you don't do it?
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
living in NYC - it's something that you come across a LOT. it's really frustrating sometimes, because it's not often that i have cash, and it's really awkward when you have to tip too. to be honest, it's not like the coat check person is doing all that much - they sit/stand there and put coats on hangers and take them off. i don't know. it's frustrating
La-Tua-Cantante La-Tua-Cantante 8 years
I've never been anywhere where there's a mandatory coat check. But if I was, I'd probably find somewhere else to eat. I agree with what someone else said - the customer's comfort should come first.
macgirl macgirl 8 years
I'm not sure what I would have done. Part of me is very non confrontational and would have complied but the other part of me is a bit stubborn and would have possibly told them I was too cold and was going to leave it on. I guess if I wasn't cold I wouldn't mind giving it up.
aphill4 aphill4 8 years
I live in Chicago and I've never experienced a waitress telling me it was mandatory to check my coat. Now, truth be told I don't frequent Zagat top-rated places either, but I have enjoyed dinners at nice restaurants. But if the hostess pointed me in the direction of the coat-check, I can't imagine she would deny me personal warmth if I offered to keep the coat on. on the position of check the coat or seeya later- forget that! Is a restaurant really worth the food if the price is a hoity toity place where you're not allowed to conceal your own jacket on your own accord- not to mention the cost of what you're eating? Party foul indeed.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
Yep, this happened to me once. We went to this very nice steakhouse where they had a coat check and I was wearing a short sleeved top. I'm always cold anyways, so I was planning on leaving my jacket on but they told me they had a mandatory coat-check policy. I actually thought they were making that up; I didn't know a lot of restaurants did that.
doleychitown doleychitown 8 years
I was out in chicago two weeks ago where this was the case. It wasn't dead of Winter but it was still cold out and the place was freezing inside.. Besides the fact I don't like anyone telling me what to do with my stuff...its so annoying
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
No thank god!
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 8 years
I haven't, but if I did, I would leave and not eat there.
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 8 years
I haven't been to a place that does this but it sounds like a total scam to me.
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
I've never been to a place with mandatory coat checks. Sometimes when I go to nyc clubs, I'll just stuff my jacket behind a speaker. Never had it stolen or anything.
Pets Pets 8 years
Oh wow, I just got NYC flashbacks... not only do I remember mandatory coat checks, it wasn't just tipping, it was a charge. Plus if you had two items, say a sweater and a jacket, they would often try to charge you twice to prevent someone from doubling up coats on a hanger to split the cost between friends.
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