Sunday, September 21, 2008

Drinks Cost Money

Both of these instances happened this evening, Saturday, September 20th.

Black Guy: He orders a Long Island Iced Tea. I make his drink and take his credit card to start a tab. He orders two more Long Island Iced Teas over the next hour. He then asks for his tab. I run his card and it comes to 36 dollars. As I expected, he immediately balks (which happens everytime people order an LIT). I have to explain to him that our rail liquors are all premium (Tangueray, Smirnoff, Sauza, etc) and that we pour at least three shots of booze into our LIT's. If you've been to this restaurant before then you would know, we aren't cheap and we don't run specials. Predictably the guy starts bitching and even more predictably the guy tips nothing.

White Guy: Is in the bar with a huge wedding party. He orders four beers and starts a tab. His girlfriend then comes up and wants to buy a round of shots for the wedding party and the guy agrees to pay for the round. They order 11 Absolut Citron lemon drops and 2 shots of Jager. He then asks to see his tab, and much to his shock (!) it's now over 100 dollars. He begins telling me about how we were dead before the wedding party came in and that this is bullshit and blah blah blah. I shrug and run his card for the full amount. After this guy has me sugar rim 11 shot glasses and 11 lemon slices, pop 4 beers, and pour 2 additional shots, he tips dick, and continues to run his mouth about how he got ripped off.

Does it matter what color a persons skin is in either of these situations? No, they could've been American Indian for all I care. The fact is, just because Joe Blow at your neighborhood sports bar gives you 2 dollar Bud Lights and every other drink for free, does not mean you can walk into another establishment and expect not to pay full price and/or not tip.

I've been hard on the tipping habits of minorities in the past and that's not fair. There are people from all walks of life that don't understand the concept of restaurants and service. I apologize and will henceforth refrain from mentioning a persons skin tone when I discuss tipping, regardless of how often certain stereotypes are fulfilled or broken.

The funny thing is, other than these two incidents, almost every single tab I closed tonight tipped at least 20% and we ended up having a pretty profitable night. I guess I just like to focus on the negative shit sometimes.


Jon said...

It's always the negative stuff that people do end up focusing on, because it's what sticks out most. You always hear about the planes that crash, not about the ones that successfully take off and land every single day. That's why people are fearful of plane travel when it's much safer than being in a car, for instance.

fellow bartender downtown said...

It's true that a lot of black people don't tip well, but as you pointed out, it's not just limited to one race.

Unfortunately as bartenders we're at the customers mercy, and unless you automatically add gratuity, a customer never has to tip a dime.

I'm sure you have customers that over-tip and leave high amounts. That always seems to even out the poor tippers for me.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking that if you're a dillhole, you're not going to get free stuff. Bartenders aren't going to buy you your drinks unless you give them a reason to. Bitching at them isn't one. Being a not-dillhole just might be.

RVA Foodie said...

Okay, I know I'm in the wrong place to argue on behalf of the consumer. This site is virtually an industry journal for food/drink/gigalo services. None of which I've ever really taken up (hence why I enjoy reading the tawdry details).

I think the reason these two didn't tip is because they rationalized that the steep drink prices must include gratuity, and a full healthcare and dental benefits plan for the staff. If that doesn't compute, consider that the customer is caught off guard, feels hoodwinked (maybe incorrectly), and doesn't want to get "fooled" again by giving over more money. They might be in the wrong, but not tipping is their little attempt at justice.

Maybe you can take satisfaction in knowing that cheapskates generally don't go back to those places where they felt ripped off or realized they didn't quite "belong." Or, if we do, we order less ambitiously, with a chip on our shoulder, a little embarrassed.

Jocelyn Testes-Harder said...

Just bring me some more lemons for my water and I'll make my own lemonade!

rahdog2 said...

in regards to the white guy from the wedding party, jack bent him over the bar and had his way with him, and then expected the guy to thank him and give him a tip. no way. first of all, you're not batrending in manhattan. 4 beers should be $24 at most. 11 shots should be $40 (only an a--hole chargs full price for round of 11 shots) and the final 2 shots 10 dollars. Adding in taxes, the bill should be $80 at the absolute most. i tip well, and i would have tipped you either.

Jack Goes Forth said...

Interesting math rahdog.

Absolut Citron Lemon Drop- 7 dollars x 11= 77 dollars.

Jager shots- 7 x 2= 14 dollars.

4 Dos Equis Beers- 24 dollars.

My calculations make that total 115 dollars.

A bar is a business, not a charity. If a bartender gives away a free drink every "big" order, than the bar loses A LOT of money. I never have to give a free drink to anyone, but I do frequently...just not to assholes like this guy

Anonymous said...

I thought the guy was an asshole for not tipping. But now you're saying that you didn't like him before you even gave him the bill. Do you often punish your patrons with high prices? Let me guess, price breaks only apply when there's ample cleavege.

Jack Goes Forth said...

ha. I don't make the drink prices. Is 7 a shot sort of high? Maybe.

A good rule to live by here: Never expect a free drink or a price break. Even when I walk into my own bars or bars where a close friend is tending, I'm always ready to pay full price.