Instagram Threads user @virgoreader writes in a now-viral post on the application that a Panera worker financially took advantage of her sister with Down Syndrome, alleging that, despite her having a gift card, she needed to pay in cash as well.
The woman goes on to write that she believes the worker took that cash for herself, marking it off as a "discount" on the register while still using funds from the gift card — and that the entire process was documented on the receipt of her sister's meal.
"Yesterday my sister, who is an adult with down syndrome, went to @panerabrad with her friend for dinner"
She explained further, "she had a $15 gift card and cash. she wanted to use the gift card and then cover the rest in cash"
OP then explains how the scam happened, and how she has the evidence to prove that the Panera employee indeed pocketed cash from her sister.
"the cashier said no - to do 'cash first.' look at the receipt -"
She then writes, "they made her pay $22 cash, marked cash as DISCOUNT (to pocket it), and charged $1.25 to the gift card. you can tell this happened BECAUSE THE TAX IS $0.08
this is unreal. what kind of person steals from a mentally disabled person"
Attached to her post is a receipt from a Thousand Oaks, Calif. Panera Bread location. it seems that the Panera worker did indeed perform a cash out and discount like @virgoreader says.
There were folks who argued that the worker didn't steal from her sister, but the restaurant, however, the Instagram user retorted that her sister was indeed on the receiving end of some financial tomfoolery.
'sigh. look at the receipt. they put $22 as a DISCOUNT amount, so to the store it’s as if she only paid $1.25 on gift card in reality she paid $22 cash this way the employee can pocket $22 cash but the register wont be unbalanced bc the cashier marked it as discount," she wrote back.
There were folks who understood @virgoreader's explanation, however, and urged her to reach out to Panera corporate and have the matter thoroughly investigated.
Another commenter remarked how the cashier more than likely quickly computed the math in order to pull off the finesse: "The 22 came from the cashier quickly doing the math of adding up the dollar numbers of each item. 7+6+9=22."
They added that sending the receipt into upper management may help her get to bottom of what happened: "The receipt should be emailed to the store manager and I would ask the store manager in person for the name of the district manager. Most likely someone on the accounting side in the location is helping cover it up."
Apparently, there were other people who've been on the receiving end of this con job, like this viewer who responded in the comments section of the TikTok: "Something similar happened to us at a different establishment. We had two gift cards. One worth 50$ and one worth less than 10$. We asked to use the small one up first."
"Our total was less than 50$. We got a card back and found it had 0$. I was able to determine later that same day, the 50$ card was used in full somewhere else," they continued."
This isn't the first time that Panera workers have been accused of trying to steal from diners — TikToker Gabbie Egan uploaded a clip in March of 2023 claiming that restaurant workers tried taking her debit card and lying of its whereabouts.
In January of 2022, local news outlet WFLA reported that a Panera manager was arrested for purportedly "stealing more than $1500 in cash from the store's safe," and then there was the 2015 story of a Panera worker who had the cuffs slapped him for embezzling (allegedly) "more than $240,000 from the company."