“Service is delivering on your promise,” famously friendly restaurateur Danny Meyer recently told New York. “Hospitality is making people feel good while you’re delivering on that promise.” So here’s an etiquette question: What’s the proper protocol when you’re about to be sent to prison for embezzlement?
Meyer’s former Gramercy Tavern bookkeeper, Sandrene Austin, helped herself to an estimated $275,000 in the nearly two years she worked for him, skimming a few hundred bucks each week and covering the discrepancy by inflating the number of gift certificates redeemed. The five-and-a-half-months pregnant 28-year-old was sentenced to three years in jail yesterday, as the Post reported. But here’s the beauty part: She could have gotten off without any jail time if she’d just shown remorse and returned the money. Why didn’t she do that? Because she’d purchased a Queens home for herself and her family with the money, and the family didn’t want to sell the house.
After all, without it, how could they be hospitable?
— Doree Shafrir