Saturday, July 12, 2008

Interesting Bar Exchange Of The Night

It was 1 AM and it was busy. A young guy comes up and orders a beer and a jager bomb. I make them both and say "That's 11.50." He hands me a twenty and says "keep the change". I put the money in the drawer and then put the 8.50 tip in the tip bucket. I wheel back around and see the guy still standing there. He tells me to hold on and then proceeds to pull a fifty dollar bill, a twenty dollar bill and a five dollar bill out of his pocket. He hands it all to me and says, "Here, this is yours too." I'm briefly stunned but I take the money and drop it in the tip bucket and then I proceed to flatter the guys ass off. You know, the usual "you're my boy", "my new favorite customer", etc. I make another jager bomb and get our bar back to take it over to him(free of charge) and the guy then proceeds to give the bar back another twenty dollar bill. The barback comes back and we ring the hell out of the tip bell, high five each other and continue on with our work.

10 minutes later I'm making drinks and I hear a bunch of girls shouting my name. I see some sort of ruckus happening in the middle of the dance floor and I realize that they're shouting my name because they want me to come break up a fight. I guess the bouncers were nowhere to be found so I jump the bar and grab a smaller white guy, who it appeared was the instigator, out of a fray of people. In a choke hold I pull him about 10 feet away from the crowd and that's when it hit me. This was the guy who just tipped us 95 dollars for two drinks.

I gently let him go and try to talk to him for second. His girlfriend rushed over exclaiming, "he didn't do nothin!". Then 2 black guys come over and say that the big tipper threw a drink in their face and was trying to fight them. They make this big scene and demand that I kick this kid out. I don't have time to take a deposition so I politely suggest that the big tipper walk with me outside to talk, all the while I tell him that "I'm not kicking him out, I just want to talk." We get outside and I finally get the guy to calm down and walk away with the promise that the next time he comes to the bar I'm going to treat him like a prince (free drinks, etc.) The kid was polite to me and apologetic the whole time. I felt bad because I simply could not let him back in the bar.

The shitty part: When I got back in I heard from multiple sources that I trust, that my big tipper had accidently spilled some of his drink on one of the black guys (it was a crowded dance floor) and was very apologetic and offering to buy them drinks until one of the black guys shoved him. Since everyone starts to well up when I even mention the color of someones skin, let me clarify my stance. The race of the parties involved has nothing to do with this incident. The big tipper could have been black and the assholes on the dance floor white, it wouldn't have mattered. The situation would not have been different.

I got duped and a fantastic customer got asked to leave because of some assholes who never tip and have no idea what club etiquette is... or what life etiquette is for that matter.
Oh and the big tipper? I'll remember his face for as long as I bartend. No matter how crowded, no matter the situation, he will always get special treatment and he will always get hooked up. That's what people get when they leave big tips. Period.


Anonymous said...

Jack, you work in a depraved dystopia. It's hard to swallow lessons in morality from the Shockoe Bottom bar scene, where it seems from your stories that money and alcohol are equated with honor and respect. Next time, if someone is too drunk to keep track of their money, maybe they should be cut off. Might have kept him from spilling his drink all over your favorite butt of jokes: the race that doesn't tip.

Jack Goes Forth said...

wow, I get some stupid comments but that takes the cake. You've never worked in the service industry, this is clear. Don't disrespect the bottom either. I work in a college bar some nights but in a much nicer bar others (in the bottom)...

Lessons in morality start in bars and on the street. Not on your little sheltered block you pussy.

Jack Goes Forth said...

...although I do like the term, "depraved dystopia". You got that part somewhat right.

Taff said...

@1 - and if you're going to bag out the writer man the fuck up and put your name to your post...

HEK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HEK said...

HEK said...

Jack, this sounds like a scene that got cut out of "Cocktail" because the producers were nervous about "the message."

Funny thing about Shockoe. Certain parts of it have always been raucous, almost from jump, in the 1780s, when taverns started clustering there, including The Bird-in-Hand and the more Gutenberg-like Bell's Tavern (in the Main Street Station parking lot--there's a plaque on the granite wall).

Bell's tranformed into the New Orleanian-style designed St. Charles and there, unfortunately, slave auctions were held.

But from 1905 to about 1919 a controversial "vice district" was created there by police to cluster prostitution, cocaine rackets and saloons into one "segregated," (the term then for it), tenderloin section.

It was bounded by the now vanished Mayo Street between Broad and Franklin, and on Franklin to Governor, from 15th Street to the also vanished Locust Alley, with a satellite district on 8th Street between Main and Cary streets. Other "assignation houses" lined up Main to 23rd Street.

One of the reasons that Main Street Station and the next door Railroad YMCA were put in this location was to break up the vice, and the Y constructed to keep transient railroaders and neighborhood kids away from temptation.

Shockoe wasn't just a central place for railroads, but a busy port was still going strong, into the first decade of the 20th century, just down the street. What do mariners often seek? There was plenty of that in Fulton and Rockett's/Port Mayo, but Shockoe had one-stop debauchery.

[A few years ago I got to see a wee bit of this in action, when the inter-coastal cruiser used to stop at Rockett's. The young crew came running off the ship eager to party and wanted to know where Siné's was, and they ran laughing into the dark.]

The 1905 segregation model didn't work--the various vices were of course still illegal, and compounded by Richmond's restriction of liquor licenses to 150 applicants. This engendered a certain "Sopranos" character among dealers that worsened with later state-wide prohibition.

The bungling police commission (we even had a Commissioner Gordon -- Douglas Gordon) became embroiled in protection rackets. Diseases spread out of Shockoe all over town, from the syph to smallpox.

Now that was when we really knew how to run a depraved dystopia.

Those were the days.

drb said...

No respect for those who think it's an easy job. Anon- you wouldn't last a second behind the bar... espcially a college bar.

JGF- thanks from an ex bartender who gets to live vicariously through your writings.

Jack Goes Forth said...

HEK- Once again, you have proven to be a sage when it comes to Richmond matters and history, if not a bit long winded (which seems to be your style, I don't mind though).

I may have to start referring to the area as the "tenderloin section" once again.

Judging by my past weekend,it is still infact a one stop shop for debauchery.

Thanks for he insightful comment.

Brie said...

Maybe it's a good thing I didn't pop by in my costume, then. ;) 5 inch heels + dancefloor shakedowns = problems for someone klutzy like me. ;)

Benedict Smith said...

ah the classic spilled drink which bears the weight of killing a child.....there's a reason i prefer bars to clubs......and anonymous has obviously never worked in the service industry. the black co-workers at my waiting tables gig say the same thing about who it is that we all know doesn't tip.

Evan said...

You know Jack, for an anti-status revolutionary you sure are willing to suck your customers' cocks if they give you enough money.

Status really is king, isn't it?

Anna said...

New drinking game. Here are the rules:

1. Drink every time someone uses the phrase "service industry."
2. Drink every time person A assumes person B has never worked in the service industry even though person A has no idea who person B is.
3. Drink every time it is implied that tending bar is the equivalent of a Ph.D. in Psychology.
4. Drink every time you wonder what the deleted comments said.
5. Drink every time you learn something new about Richmond.
6. Drink if you find racist sentiments in the blog posts.
7. Drink when a racist sentiment is justified with something like, "Even the black people I work with say..."
8. Drink every time someone calls out an anonymous commenter.
9. Drink every time Cocktail is referenced.
10. Drink every time you roll your eyes at the naivete of someone not in the service industry.
11. Take two drinks for every angry comment rule #3 inspires.

Ok. Ready. Set. Play!

Jack Goes Forth said...

12. Jack drinks when he sees how much he angers people over a blog post. Oh and after he drinks he sits back and smiles :)

Jack Goes Forth said...

Anna- funny list. Any drinking game stemming from this blog can't be all that bad.

And I'm not sure if you noticed but this is basically becoming a bartending blog, so other than the sextalk and rants, it's going to be a lot of "service industry" talk, whether people like it or not.