Tip #4 on Being a Good Bar Customer

21 Jan

If you haven’t already and want to, or if you have already and really love them and want to again, you can read Tip #1, Tip #2 and Tip#3 here.  Also, trigger warning, this is a bitter post.  Clearly, 4 days and 4 bar shifts later I am still pissed about this one.

Okay so here’s the thing about bartending.  For the most part, unless you work in a corporate spot or a fancy hotel or something, you don’t actually get paid.  For example, I work 3 days a week, for about 9 hours per shift if you count the time setting up before and cleaning up after.  That means that, for those among us who are math challenged, I work 54 hours every two weeks.  (And in case you were wondering yes, I did pull up my computer calculator to make sure my multiplication was right.  Sad, isn’t it?)  And every two weeks I receive a paycheck for roughly $94.94, give or take.  That means that I make, after taxes, about $1.78 an hour.  I have a pretty cheap living situation and a relatively frugal approach to life, but even I cannot make living on $189.88 a month, or $2278.56 a year, work.  Hence, TIPS.

So, TIPS.  Why do I put it in capital letters?  Because it is actually an acronym (oh, don’t we love those GPIA friends?) which stands for To Insure Proper Service.  It’s sort of like an incentive structure.  The idea is that when you come into a bar, the bartender is not going to burp in your face or spit in your drink because if they do so they will not receive any money on top of the meager hourly wage.  It’s a way for the customer to show his or her appreciation for the level of attention and service as well as the overall quality of the beverage and experience.  This all being said there are some people who don’t leave a gratuity and not for any reason other than the fact that they are assholes.  Let me tell you a story.

So there is this little blonde pipsqueak that comes into the bar sometimes.  (Let it be known that normally I wouldn’t feel the need to mention much about her appearance or stature except that I just think she is such an ass that I cannot help myself.)  She is one of those women who, 20 years from now, will have a mouth pucker as if she has been sucking on a lemon since she came out of the womb.  She has been nothing but  unpleasant every single time she comes into the bar and not just to me, but to other customers and to one of the owners.  One time, for example, she made a huge stink about how I was eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (actually, it was almond butter and fig preserves but no need to split hairs) behind the bar.  Not in front of her face but off to the side.  She made this face as if I was sitting there with a cat turd sandwich and spitting bits of shit all over her.  Rather than just quietly get up and move to a table or say something like “I’m sorry, not to be rude but I just don’t love the smell of peanut butter so I’m going to sit over there at that table” she gave me a ridiculous stink eye and said, very loudly and dripping with disdain, “UGH!  I just cannot STAND the smell of peanut butter.  I can’t even SIT here.  Gross!”  And shot me a nasty look over her shoulder as she retreated to the corner.  Honestly, if I knew it was that easy to get rid of her I would have brought a PB&J far earlier.

So, yea, she’s a bitch.  Not only is she a bitch but she is also a non-tipper.  I’m not talking like, she orders three drinks and leaves a buck, which is rude and also cheap, but she literally leaves nothing except for the lingering stink of her bad attitude.  This past Thursday she came in and stood right in front of the bar chatting – or should I say bitching loudly – to her friend (does she actually have those?  Incredible.) about something I could really care less about.  I saw she was in the middle of something, I know she is a bitch, so I figured I would walk away for 30-45 seconds, maybe a minute, let her finish up her conversation so I am not imposing but also not make her wait long enough that she gets all huffy about the bad service which, honestly, is the only level of service she deserves.  I came back to where she was standing and said, in as sweet a voice I could muster (I got confirmation that I was nothing but nice.  Maybe I have a career in acting in my future?),

“Hey ladies, can I get you anything?”

She looked at me, looked back at her friend, rolled her eyes and spat,

“Ugh.  I guess I’ll have a Jack and Coke.”

Okay, so first of all, it’s not like I was out of line interrupting her.  She was standing at the bar.  If what she was talking about was so important, why didn’t she just stand a little further away from the bar, signalling to me that she was planning on ordering a drink but wasn’t ready just at that moment.  Also, why the attitude?  Whatever.  I made her drink, brought it back over and said,

“That’ll be seven dollars, please.”

She reached into her wallet, took out exactly seven dollars, a 5 dollar bill and two singles, dropped them on the bar and walked away.  No thank you. No smile.  No tip.   Fine, whatever.  I walked over to my boss and friend (same person!  Ain’t I lucky?), and was like

“Bitch didn’t even tip.  What is her deal??”

To which my boss responded,

“Oh, her?  Please, she never tips.”

The night continues.  Little pipsqueak decides she needs another drink and orders two things from my boss because this time she was ready THE SECOND SHE WALKED UP TO THE BAR AND GOD FORBID SHE HAD TO WAIT MORE THAN 5 SECONDS WHILE I MADE A DRINK FOR SOMEONE ELSE which, together, added up to $11.  We have a $12 minimum on credit cards (I know, it’s illegal, blah blah blah shut up I’ve heard it before) but usually when people get close to the minimum like that we let it slide because we are nice and accommodating and when you do nice things for people they remember and come back and that’s good for you and the bar.  Double win.  So, the girl left the tab open.  About an hour later she decided she couldn’t possibly stay a second longer and had to close her tab right then.  Upon seeing that I was, again, doing my job and making drinks for other people because (a) that’s how I make my money and (b) it was a Thursday night and sort of busy, she did a huge eye roll and said, not muttered,

“Ugh, seriously?”

(I got confirmation of said utterance from an observing customer who was a neutral party.)  My boss noticed the pipsqueak, notice her stankface, and swept in to run her card for her.  She went, in my opinion, above and beyond the call of duty and ran the pipsqueak’s card for the $11 total, rather than adding the one buck to reach the minimum.  Upon relating to the girl that she had in essence done her a favor the girl looked at her, did not smile, and then said,

“Oh, well in that case I’ll tip you.”

Okay, I’m sorry what?!  Seriously bitch, what is your damage?  Who says something like that?  Not tipping is bad enough, but lording your tip money over someone is just so incredibly rude and unwarranted.  I mean, if I were one of her “friends” I would be so massively embarassed to go anywhere with her that involved being served by someone.  I mean, I serve but I am by no means a servant and I am also a human being and a relatively smart one at that so maybe you should check yourself.  Also, you had better believe that I am planning on telling each and every one of my co-workers about this just so that there is never a buyback given, not ever, not once.  I am vindictive and I hold grudges.  Get ready for it, pipsqueak.

So here’s the thing.  Tipping is obviously better than not tipping, especially when the service you get is good.  But not tipping does not necessarily make you an asshole, it just makes you uneducated to the appropriate ways to behave when you are in a social environment involving a bartender, a server or any other manner of person helping you between your current state, without food or drink, and the state you aspire to be in, drinking and/or eating something delicious.  There is never an excuse for being an asshole when you are treated like a human being.  Ever.  So, if you don’t tip and are nice, I will forgive you although I won’t give you things for free.  If you don’t tip and are an asshole, or if you don’t tip and then make a huge fucking statement about how you are tipping on the rare occasion that you do so in order to make it known that you are an entitled, cheap fuck, then you should never leave your house and you certainly shouldn’t come into my bar.

And so, to the pipsqueak, I would like to let you know that the other day on my way to work I saw you and your boyfriend (who is also an asshole, for those who are wondering) I was about halfway to tripping you so you fell right on your face and crushed your hand under your comically large law book but I decided to be the bigger person.  So, you’re welcome.

15 Responses to “Tip #4 on Being a Good Bar Customer”

  1. jillhru January 21, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

    Yet another great post in this series. My favorite line: “I serve but I am by no means a servant.” Here, here!

    • FranklyRebekah January 21, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

      Yay! I was afraid this one was too angry. Glad it wasn’t. Also, I thought about you while writing it because you mentioned liking the series!

  2. creatingcarrie January 26, 2013 at 8:49 am #

    if you want to send the asshole law students to me to handle, i will gladly take them on!

    • FranklyRebekah January 26, 2013 at 11:56 am #

      I should have you lead a class or something. Or else use some of the self-defense things we learned that one time. In the solar plexus!

      • creatingcarrie January 29, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

        learn from me and be sure not to fall on the floor though!


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