An Immodest Proposal

My friend Joe posted this on Facebook today. Joe is a bartender, by the way, an extraordinary one, and I am a slightly better bartender than him only because I have boobs. If Joe had boobs, forget it. We’d all be done for.

It was posted on the Comedy News section of the Huffington Post, though I don’t see what’s funny about it and I understand the fuck out of satire. If this guy gets paid as a comedy writer, then he’s pulled off a pretty good scam. If he gets paid as a writer at all, then fuck this guy. Because he’s an asshole.

Every time I’ve ever written something about how people who don’t tip bartenders are douchebags who shouldn’t be going out in the first place, some douchebag comments that if I want more money, perhaps I should get a better job. Oh, thank you, Master Economist of the Internet! I didn’t know it was that simple! I’m sure that anyone who wants more money can just get a better job, because this is America and that’s the answer to everything!

Also, shut your fucking mouth. Yes, you should be tipping on every drink and that includes a dollar every time I pull a draught or open a beer, and yes, I do deserve that for serving you in addition to the other shit I do here, and yes, most of us actually do have “better” jobs, as well, but we bartend because we are earning some additional money while doing it and not everyone is a privileged little prick like you.

I really don’t know where this anti-tipping attitude came from. Maybe I’m not as familiar with it because I grew up on the lower end of the middle-class spectrum in a decidedly working class part of a working class city, and because I’m used to seeing people actually work for a living, and because I was raised to believe that anyone who is working should get paid a fair wage for it. Revolutionary, right? I’ve been seeing more of this anti-tipping attitude lately, though, as if this generation that grew up being told they were wonderful, special, unique and deserving little snowflakes decided that no one was giving them a dollar for just standing there, so why should they extend the favor to someone else? Because despite what the HuffPo jackwagon said:

“Why do we tip taxi drivers 10% to 15%, waiters and waitresses 15% to 20%, and hotel chambermaids $1 per night, while bartenders expect to rake in $1 per drink (or more if we’re feeling generous)? … Why aren’t all professions created equally? And why is this hypothetical bartender the worst offender, in that he or she collects the same $2 for two drinks that required exactly 19 seconds of work as what I tip to the delivery person (dare I say man!) who has just braved rain, snow, sleet, and hail to bring me my bento box?”

…he’s not tipping everyone else, either. He’s not tipping servers their solid 20%, he’s not tipping cab drivers, he’s not tipping delivery people or bellhops or maids. Although he can apparently afford to get Japanese lunches delivered to his home on a regular basis, he’s not tipping anyone. He’s going through life assuming that he knows what all of these people in all of these jobs are worth, and all entirely based upon his entirely fabricated claim that he was once a bartender.

Dude, it takes an exceptionally shitty person to refuse to tip bartenders if you’ve been a bartender yourself. I mean, fuck. The people who claimed to have been bartenders and then later been terrible or absentee tippers were lying to me; they never bartended, they maybe trailed a server for a single shift before deciding that being on your feet all day long like, really sucked, you know? Although maybe he really was a bartender, but possibly one of the feckless ones he mentions in his piece:

“That overly-bearded hipster who has ignored you in favor of people who display more cleavage or douchebags who are more aggressive than you or jerks who flash large bills, is clearing nearly $500 — 80% in cash — during a standard 8-hour shift on a busy night. And when he doesn’t serve you for 15 minutes, despite your constant eye contact, followed by internal heeing and hawing about how you’re not going to tip the bastard, you do it anyway, for fear of retribution that if you don’t tip him this time, your 15 minute wait will be doubled to a half hour sentence next time.”

Maybe the problem there isn’t the bartending industry including all bartenders ever, but that bartender in particular and possibly your decision to drink at a kind of place where that is acceptable? And your policy of punishing everyone for one bartender’s misdeeds is…oh, I don’t know, fucking stupid? Not to mention that your belief that every bartender clears $500 during a standard 8-hour shift on a busy night. You do know that most bartenders don’t work with their nipples showing, right, and that people don’t just shove bills into our pants all night?

But while we’re on the subject of making generalizations, let’s talk about the British, shall we? I hate the British. Most people in the industry do. They’re fine on their own, but in restaurants and bars, we don’t see the classy British who have educated themselves about America’s tipping culture. We see the nasty, braying, shitfaced, pretending-to-know-nothing-about-how-shit-works-here British who keep a server or bartender running for hours before walking out having tipped nothing. Like this fuckface:

“After griping about this issue, a New York-based British friend recently told me, “I believe that tipping bartenders is a substitute for a social welfare system here. However, like all welfare systems, it has been abused beyond its original, noble, intentions.” ”

Can you even? As if not tipping is offensive enough, now we’re comparing bartenders to welfare queens. Right, because that’s exactly what we’re doing. All that serving you, listening to your political/racist/homophobic/dumbassed bullshit, hauling cases, cleaning messes, being leered at, and getting stiffed is the equivalent of sitting around and doing nothing while expecting you hardworking taxpayers to fund our greedy lifestyles. Of course, we wouldn’t have to do this if we worked in Britain, where bartenders and other staff are paid a living wage by their employer, but maybe that’s just me acting like a Master Economist of the Internet.

But it really is the work bartenders put in – or rather the perceived lack of it – that most irritates the author. To him, bartending is getting paid to party. It certainly isn’t work, none of that aforementioned listening, hauling, cleaning, sexual harassment, and, you know, servitude. Night after night. On your feet. For maybe $3.50 an hour. Anyone could do it. Especially the people who sit at the bar:

As a non-cocktail drinker, I am particularly irked when I lay down $1 for the usually no more than 12 seconds to crack open a beer or pour a glass of wine. I’d happily keep a bottle opener on my keychain and then handle it myself, and charge neither friends nor fellow barmates for my services.”

You know, that sounds an awful lot like what you do when you SIT ON YOUR COUCH AND DRINK AT HOME. So…why don’t you? If you’re so offended by the concept of tipping, a practice that has been in our culture for hundreds of years, to the point where you suggest allowing you to open your drink yourself or, as he did later in the article, fire all bartenders everywhere for a “pay by the weight” alcohol dispensing system, why are you going out at all?

If you can’t stomach a dollar a drink, then stay home. If you can’t tip 20% on a total bill, stay home. If you can’t behave yourself and stop fucking sneering at me for what you incorrectly assume to be my extravagant lifestyle, then don’t come to my fucking bar and stay off my fucking Internet.

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About erineph

I'm Erin. I have tattoos and more than one cat. I am an office drone, a music writer, and an erstwhile bartender. I am a cook in the bedroom and a whore in the kitchen. Things I enjoy include but are not limited to zombies, burritos, Cthulhu, Kurt Vonnegut, Keith Richards, accordions, perfumery, and wearing fat pants in the privacy of my own home.
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