Saturday, August 28, 2010

And then some of the people, they are not so beautiful

It funny how you can have 1/4 the people, and just as much trouble - much earlier in the night.

Sometimes, the stars are aligned. Sometimes, the mood is off. Sometimes, the crowd is weird. Sometimes, Willie Nelson decides to play at the bar down the street. And all of the sudden what was expected to be a fun and busy night, turns into something that no one anticipated, and everyone would have sooner avoided.

It starts with a problem common to many in the food service industry. In some countries, tipping just doesn't happen. The gratuity is part of the bill. You pay what the check says to pay, and you are done. You don't leave any extra. Would you throw a $1 on the counter at McDonalds after they handed you a burger? No, probably not. In some countries, there is no difference between buying a burger at a drive thru, or buying a cocktail in a bar, and so there is a certain part of our customer base that just simply does not tip. Sad but true.

Then there is the opposite end of the spectrum. The Good Time Charley who is buying drinks, leaving huge tips, whispering in girls ears, and leading rounds of shots and beer chasers as he falls slowly to pieces. By the end of the night, the formerly smooth curl of his forelock is standing straight up off his forehead like an aged Jimmy Neutron, he is mumbling to himself with one eye closed as he sits alone at the bar, abandoned by his fellow revelers. He has stopped throwing large bills on the counter and is now hesitantly doling out a credit card for every round he buys each new group of pretty girls who he attempts to keep around him with the free drinks and entertaining conversation. For the last round, he gave us a card, and then took both receipts home with him. If there was one last epic tip he was keeping it a secret.

But it's not all about the money. Oh no. Sometimes, you take one look at a new customer and politely take advantage of the sign every establishment has clearly posted somewhere: "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, for any reason." Some barkeeps are nicer than others however. Willing to give even the sketchiest crew a chance to behave themselves and join in the party. Sometimes it works out.......usually it does not. And as it turns out, sometimes you find one of them about to take a leak in the walk-in freezer.

At the end of the night, the tally was not as exciting as it might have been, but what can you do - when competing against Willie Nelson in a one-horse town, you just have to stay strong, keep the glasses full, and watch the freezer.

1 comment:

Judie said...

When I was in Cancun, I was told by a gentleman who had been coming to the resort for over 20 years that the worst tippers by far were the Mexicans from Mexico City. Americans, he said, were the best, followed by Europeans.

When I was in Atlanta I had my nails done at a salon near Mum's house. I have a hearing problem, and when I asked how much I owed, I thought she said $30. So that is how much I put on my Amex card. She asked if I was sure I wanted to leave a $17 tip for a service that only cost THIRTEEN dollars! Naturally I asked for a refund and we started over.