Tip #14 on Being a Good Bar Customer

2 Sep

It has been well over a year but the tips are back! If you have forgotten about all of the other past tips because it has been ages, you can catch up with them by clicking on these handy little links! Here they are: Tip#1, Tip#2, Tip #3, Tip #4Tip #5Tip#6Tip #7Tip #8Tip #9Tip#10Tip #11Tip #12 and Tip #13. That took a really long time. Anyway, here is your tip for today:

Please, oh please, do not leave your house with only an American Express card. Especially in Brooklyn. Where a whole lot of places either don’t accept AmEx or are cash only. It is super annoying when I make you a drink and then tell you the price and you hand me an AmEx and then when I tell you that the bar I am working in doesn’t take AmEx you look at me as if you have never heard such a thing before. As if it isn’t a well-known fact that more places accept fucking Discover cards than AmEx and no one even has Discover cards. Except for my friend Katy. She has one. Katy? Are you reading this? Do you still have a Discover? Anyway, listen, I get it. I love my AmEx card, too. It gives me points towards free flights on JetBlue (whose Twitter account I had a short-lived love affair with), the customer service is fantastic, and they, unlike stupid Bank of America, will wire you money to a Western Union in Guatemala if your wallet happens to get stolen on a bus transfer! The thing about AmEx, though, is that the fees that they charge in order to process the card or whatever can be problematic for smaller businesses. Especially in this day and age when people run their cards for every individual round that they order like big, inconsiderate assholes. I have two stories!

Story #1:

This happened over this past winter so I might be slightly hazy on all the details. So this girl walks in and orders a Macallan 12 neat.  I have to say I was rather impressed! It’s not that often that a young woman in her 20s walks into a bar alone and orders a scotch. I poured the drink and let her know that it would be $12. She goes into the credit card section of her wallet and I say,

Oh, I’m sorry, we actually have a $20 card minimum but there’s an ATM in the back if you want to go take out some cash. Otherwise I am happy to hold the card and run you a tab.

Her response?

Ugh. (With the accompanying cliche over exaggerated eye roll. She failed to hand over her card and I was so put off by the “UUUGGGHHHH!!!” that I figured I should just leave her be)

So let me ask you this, dear readers. If a bartender said to you what I said, and you supposedly only had an AmEx card, wouldn’t you then say,

Do you accept American Express?

Personally, I always ask if people accept AmEx before I give it to them. Of course, I work in service and so credit card minimums and what cards are and are not accepted is always a consideration for me. I don’t expect everyone to think that way. But like, if there is some sort of regulation around cash usage, it would make sense, one would think, to then ask relevant follow-up questions. But did she? No, no she didn’t. She smuggly sat and drank her Macallan (which at this point I was mad about rather than impressed by), read her stupid book (it wasn’t actually stupid) and occasionally texted on her iPhone. Then she ordered another drink. And then she did it. She handed me an American Express. Of fucking course. So I said,

I’m sorry, do you have anything else? We actually don’t accept American Express here.

To which she said,

No! That’s my only card!

And then I looked at the card and realized it wasn’t even her fucking card! It was some dude’s card! Probably her dad’s because she was young, and white, and drinking Macallan 12 so I (perhaps erroneously) assumed that she was a trust-fund baby and her dad was paying her rent. And then I thought maybe it wasn’t her actual dad but like her sugar dad and since she had his card she was drinking the good stuff. And then I thought oh, what if she stole it? I cannot run this card under any circumstance. And then I looked down at her wallet which was lying open on the bar and wouldn’t you know it, she had other cards. Other cards that we accepted. Other cards with her name on them (I was hoping and also planning on checking her ID). And so I said,

Not to be a snoop or whatever, but what about those cards there in your wallet? (BUSTED!)

And she said,

Ugh! (Another eye roll!)

And then she grabbed a card out of her wallet, stormed over to the ATM and took out some cash, paid me and stormed out because I had obviously ruined her life. She made this clear by not tipping me. Whatever.

Story #2:

This happened way more recently. It was a Saturday night and I had just taken over the bar from my co-worker who is awesome and I love him. Any of you who have worked in service know that sometimes things get a little wonky at the change over. There is money being counted, tabs being transferred, tips being sorted, explanations about open checks and the temperment of customers being discussed. During this time my co-worker accidentally accepted an AmEx card to start a tab and didn’t realize it until the dude who gave it to him had sat down at a table. But whatever, it has happened before and all we do is when the person comes up to pay their bill we say,

You know, I made a mistake and took your AmEx card when we actually don’t accept them. Would you mind trading it out for a different one?

99.9999% of the time the person is like,

Yea, sure, no problem, whatever, shit happens. (Or some portion of that)

And then everything is great and we talk about how AmEx really ought to lower their fees and I tell them about the time I got a free roundtrip flight to San Francisco using my points and how it was one of my crowning achievements and so I totally understand why they would want to use their AmEx. Obviously though this dude was a member of the 0.0001% who is an asshole and is incapable of understanding the fact that sometimes people make mistakes. This is how it went down:

Me: You know, my coworker in the confusion of the shift changeover accepted your AmEx but we actually don’t take them. Do you have something else?
Asshat: No. I don’t.

I would like to just interject that he was holding cash in his hand at that very moment.

Me (looking at the very visible cash that happened to include at least one $20): Well, your bill is only $15. Do you have cash maybe?
Asshat (after glancing at the cash in his hand and making absolutely no effort to hide it): No.
Me: o_O
Asshat: Well, why the hell did you accept the card if you can’t run it?
Me: Because it was a mistake? And sometimes people make them?
Asshat: Well, if you can take it you can run it.
Me: That’s not how it works, actually, but let me get this straight. You left your house with nothing but an American Express card. No cash at all, not even a $20 (looking at the $20). No ATM card. No ID that you can leave here so you can pay the tab later. Just your American Express card.
Asshat: Yes. And my keys.

This went on for quite some time. Eventually I got so frustrated that I said,

You know what, just forget it. I don’t even care. Just go.

I then shot fire out of my ears and nose and singed his stupid, smug eyebrows and melted his fucking Gold Card (the part about the fire is a lie but if looks could singe, ya know?).

Fast forward a month. Saturday night. Post shift change. In walks Mr. I only have an AmEx card, no cash, even though I am holding cash in my hand while I tell you I have none because I am a dick.

Me: Hello. (Again shooting fire from nose and ears only not really)
Asshat: Let me get a Jack and ginger and a margarita.
Me: Before I make you those drinks I have to let you know what we do not accept American Express. Just to clear up any confusion. Also, you didn’t pay for your drinks last time so if you could tip on that round that would be great.
Asshat: Well, someone took my AmEx card and then someone else told me that they couldn’t run it. Why did someone accept it if they couldn’t run it?
Me: Because, as I explained last time, people make mistakes. Maybe you don’t. But other people do.
Asshat: Well, to my credit I was a little bit drunk last time.

This, again, went on for awhile. I didn’t have the energy to explain to him that being drunk is not an excuse for being a lying dickhead. I served him his drinks, took the non-AmEx card he gave me and decided to just give him another chance. Besides, he was moving to LA sometime the following week and so I would never have to deal with him again. Hooray for me! Hooray for life! Anyway, yadda, yadda, yadda he had a bunch of drinks, started a fight with someone much bigger than him over the bathrooms and got his ass kicked.

Moral of the story: don’t give a bartender your AmEx and then be an asshole about it because you will, a month later and in a completely unrelated incident, end up with a bloody nose in front of that very same bartender who doesn’t feel the least bit bad about it because you’re rude. The end.

2 Responses to “Tip #14 on Being a Good Bar Customer”

  1. CJ René September 3, 2015 at 5:14 am #

    I’m adding non-tippers to my list of people that deserve to be kicked in the teeth but I choose not to do it because I want to live a better life that and do not currently own steel toed boots.


  1. Tip #15 on Being a Good Bar Customer | franklyrebekah - November 21, 2015

    […] #2, tip #3, tip #4, tip #5, tip#6, tip #7, tip#8, tip #9, tip #10, tip #11, tip #12, tip #13 and tip #14. And don’t forget about this non tip which is one of my favorites. Alright. Let’s […]

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