By Mike Pomranz
Updated December 14, 2015
© Alexandra Grablewski / Getty Images

What was the best part of your most recent restaurant meal? The steak? The wine? The glassware you walked out with? According to the New York Post, the latter of those scenarios might be more common than you think.

Salt and pepper shakers from Polo Bar, copper mugs from Surya, even napkins from Strip House all get called out in an article on “the most stolen items from NYC restaurants.” What is most amazing is that restaurant reps say they are often reticent to say anything about the theft. “The urge to say something is definitely strong, especially considering [those copper mugs] cost about $10 each,” Abishek Sharma, co-owner at Surya, told the Post. “But we’d rather have a customer leave happy than cause a scene.” A waitress from the Polo Bar agreed: “We can’t stop them,” she said.

And it goes beyond practical items. Decorative centerpieces, paintings and statues are other items that get mentioned. Last year, the pig out front of The Spotted Pig was pilfered while security cameras watched, but famed owners Ken Friedman, April Bloomfield and Mario Batali couldn’t identify the man and get it back.

So does this mean that New Yorkers have a license to steal anytime they are dining out? Not really. Theft is still not only unethical, it’s also illegal. I’d suggest taking your holiday shopping somewhere other than from the table at your favorite restaurant. Or at least maybe politely ask your server what the restaurant policy is on stealing?