I have been a bartender for almost exactly 29 years. I got my first bar gig about a week before my Dad passed away, so it’s easy for me to remember. Tack on about 7 years of random restaurant and Dairy Queen work and I have been in this business 36 years, give or take. I know the ups and downs and I know them well. And mostly I love it. Mostly.
Saturdays in the summer are sort of slow, if the weather is even borderline nice. People go to farmer’s markets, family picnics, out on boats, whatever. I know that, and I am reasonable in my jealousy while knowing I gots to pay the bills. So I suck it up and work most of them. I worked today, just got done a little bit ago, and that’s what has me riled up.
It was slow, I mean super slow. That’s ok, those kind of days can be a little fun if you have the right people. I had the wrong people. Very wrong. Other than my super regulars, who are indeed super, I had the most awful tippers ever today!!! It was like a plot against me or something. The thing is, most of them were quite pleasant to take care of, no special or weird orders. Then it came time to pay, and it was verbal tips and minimal cash. $37 tab, $2 tip. $39 with $5 tip, $37 with $4 tip. It went on like that. It was like a punch in the gut!! I don’t know how it happens like that, and the days like that are rare. Really rare, I promise you. It became like a goal then to see how little I could make for the shift!!
It’s back to school time, I get that the budgets for families get a little stretched this time of year. And it’s fun to treat yourself to lunch out on a Saturday before you drop a fortune on pencils and folders. But leaving your server $1.98 in change on your $18 tab that you paid for with gift cards you got cheap at Costco IS NOT COOL!!!! (They split a burrito, which is fine, but they also shared a beer!) Who does that?
Ok, time to spin it to a positive spot, if I can. I have a job I love,and I am able to support myself. I have regular guests who have become friends, and they are generous to a fault with me. And they are willing to laugh through a crap shift like today with me. I could have it so much worse than I do. But let me tell you, if I ever was in a relationship with someone, I would share a meal, but sharing a beer is a deal breaker and it would be OVER!!!! I would take their $1.98 in change tip and plug it somewhere the sun don’t shine!!!
Rant over… thank you ladies and gentlemen and please, TIP YOUR SERVER!!!