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What Happens if You Actually Lose Your Ticket at Katz's?

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The first rule of dining at Katz's Delicatessen is, of course: don't lose the little carnival ticket that they give you upon entry. An employee tells you to hold onto to it when you enter, there's a giant sign enforcing the rule above the deli counter, and there's even a line of "I Found My Ticket at Katz's" merch nailed to a walls to drive the point home. But, what happens if — somehow — you lose the ticket, and then try and settle up without it? A reader found out the hard way. From the inbox:

A few weeks ago, went to Katz's with my girlfriend who'd never been. We sit down, then move tables to a less dirty one, my girlfriend leaves her ticket at the old table, it gets cleared. We eat, the check comes, they ask for our tickets. I had mine, she didn't have hers. The waiter says that we have to find it, as there's a $50 fine if we can't. We say, it was cleared at the old table, they ask who cleared it (even asking us to identify the busboy), we said we didn't know, they told us to go up to the register, maybe they have it there, they didn't. At the register, they tried to make us pay the $50 on top of the $45 for our meal, and kept trying, to the point where they brought over the security guard who tried to muscle us into paying it even more.
We just walked out after dropping money for our meal. Nightmare — terrible last impression for your customers.

Basically, the $50 lost ticket thing is a big scam to swindle money out of tourists. They write the price of your check on *one* of your party's ticket, so there's no reason why everyone has to present their ticket, and no reason why a lost ticket fee should be $50, which is more than any one person can spend there on a meal, and on top of the cost of their actual meal. Also: they write a proper check that they just don't give you. Waste of paper!

Surprisingly, NO ONE has complained about this on Yelp or anywhere else I could find. They love this policy, to the point where they even have t-shirts that say "I found my ticket at Katz's."

So, we put this to you readers: Was the Katz's patron right in assuming that the policy is an unnecessary scam? Or is it just a way to keep order among the high-volume madness of the deli? Anyone with a "lost ticket" experience at Katz's, please tell your tale in the comments.
· All Katz's Coverage [~ENY~]
[Photo:Manhattan Deli]

Katz's Delicatessen

205 East Houston St., New York, NY 10002-1098

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