Thursday, June 29, 2006

Mr. Fuck Off

It was a Friday night, and it was already getting started with a bang. We were slammed, and short handed. I was running tables on the floor and making my drinks behind the bar, Abbye was holding down the other end of the bar, and Terry had the other half of the floor.

I look up from making a Gin and Tonic to see a blur of Sugar, one of the best dancers we have, slam some girl up against the wall by the dressing room, throw her on the floor and immediately jump on top of her to commence pounding her face in. I run around the bar to split it up when I realize this is no ordinary cat fight. Usually two women fighting consists of a lot of screaming and hair pulling, not this time. I was afraid if I jumped in the middle I would get caught in the crossfire, so to speak, so I let the bouncers break it up.

This story; however, is not about that fight. It's about what happened after.

Approximately ten minutes later, after the hubbub had calmed down and all had returned to normal, we noticed that Terry was no longer there.

"All these guys are asking what happened to their waitress," my best friend Abbye told me when I made a trip to the bar for more alcohol.

"Well where the hell is she?"

"I don't know, I haven't seen her since the fight."

It was about that time that Ryan, one of our managers, came to the bar to tell us that Terry, having been terrified by the fight, grabbed her purse and hit the door.

"She quit!" I exclaimed, shocked that someone would quit not only in the middle of a slammed Friday night, but because of a silly catfight.

"Yeah," Ryan responded, "she said she couldn't work in this kind of environment anymore. Can you cover the whole floor?"

"No problem." I didn't see it as a big deal, I just saw it as more opportunity for me to make money.

I made a round of drink orders and when I came up to the bar, Abbye was explaining the situation to someone at the bar. He was average looking, glasses, nothing outlandish about him, but he was very upset that his waitress had disappeared. He seemed to take it almost personally, which should have been warning sign number one.

"Look, darlin," Abbye pointed towards me, "she's got your tab now, she'll take care of you."

"Sorry about all the confusion sweetie, just chill out and I'll take care of everything."

"I just don't appreciate the fact that my waitress ran off with my tab," was his response. I could understand his concern, I've worked in a few bars where the waitress carried the credit cards around with her, which could have been disaster. Fortunately, in my club, we keep all the cards behind the bar, thus eliminating any stressful situations.

As Abbye was explaining this to him, I made yet another round, dropping off drinks and taking orders...Such is my life on the weekends.

When I returned to the bar for another round of drinks, the gentleman with the tab was sitting in a table chair in front of the server station, facing the stages.

Let me break away for a moment and explain a few things. There is a difference between bar chairs and table chairs. Bar chairs are straight backed and high, when you sit on them you are sitting level with the bar. Table chairs are low, rounded, on wheels, and padded. The height of a table chair is a smidgen shorter than the height of the bar, which means that you can literally push a table chair underneath the bar, if their was room for it to fit. Also, for those of you not in the industry, the server station is the area of the bar where the waitresses make their orders and pick up their drinks. It is usually characterized by bar mats, featuring whatever brand of beer the distributors gave us; condiments, lemons, limes, olives, sometimes cherries; and the cash register, for easier transactions and less time at the bar for the wait staff. Having someone sit or loiter in the server station is a big no-no, it cuts into our service time and hurts not only our money, but the bars as well. The more time it takes to order and be served, the less drinks we can take out a night.

Now you can understand the rest of the story.

Normally, I would just tell someone to get out of the way, but I knew this gentleman had already been upset once tonight, and I wanted to be as polite as possible in order to salvage what was left of his evening, and possibly his opinion.

"Sweet heart, this is probably the worst place for you to be sitting. I'm going to be coming and going from this spot all night." Sugar wouldn't have melt in my mouth at this point.

"Yeah, what the fuck ever."

"I'm sorry," I said, as I leaned even further down until I was eye level with him, "what did you just say to me?"

Without even granting me the benefit of tearing his perverted gaze away from the stage, he said "whatever, fuck off." At the same time, he lifted his right hand, palm facing towards him, and made a shooing motion in my direction.

I went from lovely to livid in less than half a second. Forgotten were the drink orders, forgotten was the tray.

"Ryan, get this motherfucker out of here!" I screamed to the DJ booth as I ran outside to find Billy.

Billy was sitting on the bed of Ryan's truck, talking to Officer Johnson, as I burst through the double doors of our club, panting, steaming anger from my pores.

"Billy. Motherfucker. Inside. Asshole. Want. Him. Out." The words were coming in short bursts. I'm not sure if it was the snide "fuck off" without even the benefit of eye contact, the "you're no better than a fly who's annoying me" shooing motion, or a combination of the two, but I was irate. I was irate enough for thirty people.

"Billy," Officer Johnson interjected, "would you like me to take care of this one for you?" And who says cops don't come in handy?

Just then, Ryan came running outside.

"Who the hell am I supposed to kick out? You ran outside before you could tell me!"

In my haste to have this asshole removed, I had forgotten to point out which asshole. I rushed inside with Ryan and Billy at my heels.

I pointed him out to them, and then stood, staring, ten feet away. My blood was boiling. I wanted vengeance. As Ryan and Billy are talking to this guy, trying to get him to leave in the nicest way possible, his friends are starting to gather around, attempting to figure out what all the commotion is. Now Ryan and Billy are dealing with fifteen guys, instead of just the one. While this is happening, Mr. Fuck Off has made his way back to the bar and is, incredulously, ordering a drink.

"Abbye," I screamed at the bar, "don't you FUCKING serve him. Tab him out, he's cut the fuck off."

Abbye looked at Mr. Fuck Off, shrugged, and began tabbing him out.

At this point in time, several of Mr. Fuck Off's friends are coming up to me, begging me with bribes to allow him to stay. I wasn't having it.

"I don't care how much money you're offering me, I want him the fuck out of here."

"What about two hundred? Three hundred? C'mon, please. He's eaten some xanax tonight, he's normally not like this." They were bartering, pleading, begging. I was stone.

Ryan walked up to me, put his hands on my shoulders, looked me dead in the eyes and told me to get back to work. I didn't move. I couldn't move, my anger had rooted me to the spot.

It was then that I became aware of my surroundings. I turned around and realized that every dancer in the club who wasn't onstage was standing behind me, ready to strike. My own private militia, stationed at arms. Tatum, a friend of mine, grabbed me in a bear hug.

"We got your back girl, don't you worry. We got your back."

I think it's times like these when you realize who your true friends really are. It's easy to be friends with someone when everything is sunshine and roses. When the shit hits the fan, and they stand behind you; that's when you know.

Eventually Mr. Fuck Off and his crew were escorted out of the building. I went back to work, no worse for the wear. Five minutes later, Ryan approached me.

"I'm just letting you know," he started, "we're letting those guys back into the club."

"What!? Why!?"

"They're coming in by themselves, Mr. Fuck Off isn't with them. They left him in the truck out in the parking lot."

I guess it really is hard times when you realize who your friends are. Poor Mr. Fuck Off's friends abandoned him in the truck while they went back inside the club. I can't say that I felt sorry for him.

Maybe your quality of friend is equal to your quality of person.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Mr. Five Dollars

It was a Saturday night, about a month ago, and we were pretty busy. Terry and I were waiting tables on the floor and Savannah was behind the bar. I was heading off to the dressing room to use the bathroom when I heard Savannah yelling for me.

"Oh my god! That tab of Terrys! It was a $400.00 tab and he tipped her $5! Can you believe that shit!" Savannah's face was flushed, eyes blazing with anger.

"Who the fuck did that? Where is he?"

"Right there, the cheap asshole!"

I looked to where Savannah was pointing and saw a young guy, about 24 or 25. I had waited on him earlier before Terry arrived. He was young, but showy. Earlier he wanted to buy every dancer a drink, so of course, it was my job to run around taking drink orders from the ones that I didn't remember off the top of my head.

"That motherfucker!" I was pissed. Regardless of the fact that it wasn't my table-you don't tip one percent. I would rather someone stiff me completely than tip me one percent. It's insulting.

Terry walked up to the bar where we were talking, looking crestfallen.

"I don't know what to do! I wasted my whole night catering to that piece of shit, more than I spent with my other tables," Terry cried. I felt for her, that's the way it is with tabs. You run your ass off hoping that they'll take care of you at the end.

"Did you give him his five dollars back and tell him to shove it up his ass? I would," I told her.

"I can't do that," she said, "I don't have the guts." This was true, she didn't. Terry had spent most of her employed life working for corporate, where the customer was always right and you did your damnedest to bend over and take it in the ass while keeping a smile plastered on your face. I did my time in corporate.

"I got you. Don't worry."

I took five dollars out of my pocket and ripped it into small pieces. My boss was sitting at the corner of the bar and motioned me over.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm taking this five dollars and throwing it in this asshole's face. Is that okay?" I was getting angrier and angrier as the seconds ticked off the clock.

"Do what you have to do," my boss replied.

With each step across the bar my anger was growing. I was no longer doing this for Terry, hell, I wasn't even doing this for myself. This was for every waiter or waitress who ever wanted to tell some cheap son of a bitch to go fuck himself but would lose their job. This was for the tired, the poor, the exhausted. This was for us.

I walked up to the chair he was sitting in, and he turned his bleary eyes upward towards me. I took the ripped up money out of my pocket and threw it directly in his face. Hard.

"There you go motherfucker! There's your fucking tip back!" I was screaming. What smattering of dancers that were left at the table shot up, looking confused and bewildered. Usually I am a peacemaker, until you piss me off.

I turned and stalked off, but not before telling all the dancers what a cheap fuck he was. In two minutes flat, Mr. Five Dollars was sitting by himself, looking sad and confused. I didn't really care.

I went back to work, thinking nothing more of the incident. About ten minutes later Terry caught me at the bar.

"Mr. Five Dollars wants to talk to you," she said, looking concerned.

"That guy's still here?" I looked across the crowd and, sure enough, he was still sitting at the table all by his self.

"Yeah, he says he wants to know what he did to make you mad."

"Did you tell him it's for tipping you five dollars on four hundred?" I knew the answer to this already.

"No." Terry looked at her shoes, slightly embarrassed.

"One of these days, Terry, you're going to grow a pair." I wasn't trying to give her a hard time but I couldn't fight all her battles for her. "Watch my tables, I'll be right back."

I sauntered back over to the table, doing my best at looking like I was tough. I sat down and looked at this poor excuse for a man sitting across from me, looking all the more pitiful with little pieces of dollar bills stuck to his shirt and littering the floor around him.

"You wanted to talk to me?"

"Yeah. What the hell did I do to piss you off?"

I was surprised by this. I figured the guy knew already

"Look," he continued, "I've been here all night, and I've taken care of all of these dancers. I've tipped them, bought them drinks, bought dances. I've spent almost $1,000 in here tonight and this is how you treat me?"

"You need to ask yourself how much you took care of the people who took care of you." He looked confused so I elaborated. "Who brought you all those drinks?"

"My waitress."

"Right, and who tracked down all the dancers you wanted to sit with?"

"My waitress."

"Very good. Now how much did you tip her."

"Hell my tab was over four hundred dollars!"

I wasn't sure if he was confused or changing the subject, so I just took control of the conversation.

"It doesn't matter to us how big your tab is. What matters to us is how much you tip us at the end of it all. Terry has been waiting on you all night long, running your tab, bringing your drinks, and at the end of it, you slapped her in the face. An average tip is 15%, and for good service you should tip 20% or higher. How much do you make an hour?"

"Thirty dollars," was his answer.

"We make three dollars. Three. Dollars. Everything we live on, everything we pay our bills with we make in tips. Now Terry is trying to figure out how the hell she's supposed to pay her electricity bill and take care of her daughter with five dollars. She spent her WHOLE NIGHT waiting on you, and that's how you show your appreciation. Five Dollars. She deserved eighty." I was laying it on, doing everything I could to make this guy feel guilty.

"Well, can I run my credit card again to tip her?"

When all was said and done, Mr. Five Dollars took his credit card back up to the bar and ran it for eighty dollars, which he then gave to Terry along with an apology. I felt like applauding. All in all it was a good night for us.

I wonder if Mr. Five Dollars told his friends about the titty bar that night. I just hope he never again stiffs another waitress.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

On My Deathbed

UPDATE: i've been at the doctors and the hospital for the last two days, do expect to see some stories sunday or monday. I have some in draft i'm working on, but it's hard to write right now.

Terribly sorry for the lack of posts as of late...if the title gives you any indication I am sick sick sick.

I'm going to the doctor tomorrow, so hopefully all will be well by Thursday and I can write some more.

Must go back to my deathbed now!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Mr. Asshole

This happened one random Thursday night when my bar was moderately slow. I'm doing double duty, bartending and waiting tables in the bar and around the stages. There's a smattering of patrons sitting at random tables, the majority of them paying cash, but one in particular is running a tab for himself and his friend. This is his story.

One of my most beautiful (and favorite) dancers, Sam, is sitting with them. After she gets settled I make my way over to the table to give the routine pleasantries and take drink orders.

"Can I get you guys anything to drink?"

"Yeah, we'll have two shots of Jack Daniel's and two Miller Lights."

"Would you like to buy Sam something to drink?" This is my standard response if they don't immediately offer. Ninety-nine percent of the time they will say yes. If they say no, it's a good indication to the dancer's that they're not going to make any money off this table.

"Yeah, get her whatever she wants, I've got enough damn money on that credit card I could buy this place."

This is a warning bell to anyone who has ever worked in the bar/cocktail industry. Similar to the "verbal tip" this usually ends badly for the server. The people I have come into contact with who brag about how much money they have are usually the cheapest people of them all.

Sam orders a shot of Hot Damn and a Bloody Mary. She drinks her Bloody Mary's with no spice, no pepper, just vodka, bloody mary mix, and some olive juice. A travesty if you ask me, but who am I to judge?

I return with the three shots, two beers, and a bloody mary. Said gentleman (who shall soon be referred to as "Mr. Asshole") is continuing his "I have a lot of money" sermon for anyone who will listen. I wink at Sam and she giggles.

Over the course of the next few hours, life continues on as it normally would. Mr. Asshole with the tab continues to order shots for the table; on average, about every third time I pass by. Soon, his cheeks are ruddy, his eyes are slightly bloodshot, and he's laughing louder than most people do.

I'm debating whether or not I should coax him into cutting himself off when he catches my eye and gives me the standard "I would like my tab" sign: one hand flat in the air with the palm up while the other hand mimics a pen scribbling in front of the other.

When all is said and done, after three hours of drinking and bragging, Mr. Asshole's tab ends at $137.50. Not a huge tab by my club's standards, certainly not breaking the bank if you have enough money to "buy the place."

I drop the tab off at Mr. Asshole's table and continue back to the bar. Sam has long since gone, looking for her next victim to hustle. Immediately after receiving the tab, it's as if someone let all of the hot air out of Mr. Asshole's head. Melo-dramatically he slumps back into his chair, then shows the bill to his friend. He looks at me. Looks at the bill. Looks back at me. Scribbles something on the paper, and storms up to the bar.

"Is something wrong?" Obviously their is, but it's a standard response, drilled into the heads of countless waiters and waitresses, no doubt learned in "waiting tables 101."

"Yeah! How the fuck did my tab get so high?"

Ahh, my favorite. Symptomatic drunken amnesia. This rare disorder affects certain people. Everything is normal until the bill arrives, then POOF, the last three hours of their life is gone-erased from their memory as if it never happened.

"Well," I start into the explanation of how much he ordered vs. prices, all concluding to the credit card tab in front of him.

"That's bullshit," he replies, glaring at me through watery lenses. I glance down at the credit card slip and notice a huge zero slashed through the tip line.

"Don't you think that was kind of an asshole thing to do?" I ask, pointing at the offensive paper which is radiating anger from its position on the bar.

"Yeah, well, I think you're an asshole," is his response. He turns and stumbles back to his friend at the table who is looking rather embarrassed.

My boss is sitting at the far end of the bar and he motions for me to come over. I'm explaining the situation when Mr. Asshole decides to make his way back to the bar, apparently for round two.

"Go talk to him, maybe he's going to tip you."

"I don't want his fucking money, Billy." Those of you who have ever been in this situation understand. It's not about the money anymore, it's about the principle of the matter.

"Do you have a million dollars in the bank?" This is Billy's idea of motivation. "Because until you do, I suggest you go try and get your money!"

"I will pay you ten dollars if you go talk to him so I don't have to."

Billy laughs and gets up from his chair. He walks behind the bar and stands in front of where Mr. Asshole is steaming hate rays.

"I don't mean to be an asshole," Mr. Asshole starts in, "but---"

Before he can finish Billy cuts him off.

"That's really not a good way to start a conversation. Usually people who say they don't mean to be an asshole are just looking for an excuse to be an asshole." I couldn't have said it better myself.

Their conversation continues for a moment and then Billy calls me over to where he is standing. When I arrive, he asks me for a list of what Mr. Asshole ordered. I hand him the sheet of paper where I kept track of his tab. We're not very high tech, but it works for us. I've been there for three years and I'm not often wrong.

"Listen," I start, turning to Mr. Asshole, "you had---"

"I had two shots of Jack Daniels and a Miller Light and my friend had two shots of Jack Daniel's and a Miller Light. That's all I had. I didn't drink any Hot Damn."

I glance at Mr. Asshole's friend. He appears to be attempting to sink into the table.

"That's right, you didn't drink any Hot Damn. Sam did. But you ordered it for her."

"I'm not blind, I know what I had." I think the word he was going for was ignorant, or stupid, but hey, blind works.

"I'm not blind either, and neither am I intoxicated." By this point, my patience is wearing thin.

"No, but you're a fucking liar!"

This was it for me. I turned to Billy, so furious I had hot tears brimming in my eyes and a flush was beginning to rise in my cheeks.

"Billy, nobody talks to me like that. Nobody calls me a fucking liar!" I can barely get the words out, my hands and body are shaking from the adrenaline that's pumping through my body.

Billy turned and walked around the bar and stood toe to toe with Mr. Asshole. Billy is about 6'3" and is a large man. I've seen him carry four people out at once. I've also seen him open a door with someone's head. He's not the person to fuck with. Mr. Asshole; however, stands about 5'6". I would have been amused by the pairing had I not been so infuriated.

"It's time for you to go," Billy growls down at the little man.

"I'm not fucking going anywhere! And I'm not paying this Goddamn tab!"

In one swift move, Billy has snatched Mr. Asshole around the throat with one large forearm, and has twisted his arm behind his back with the other, literally lifting him a foot in the air. Whatever Mr. Asshole was going to say next was cut short with a gurgle and a squeal. Billy carried him like this out into the parking lot.

Business continued as usual. No one really paid much attention. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.

Ten minutes later, when I've almost calmed down, Billy walks into the bar with one of our regular police friends.

"Will you please give officer Johnson that guy's tab?" I can see the amusement in Billy's eyes.

I hand the officer the slip of paper with all of Mr. Asshole's drinks on it. I even added prices so there's no confusion.

"Thank's Billy, I'll take it with me," Officer Johnson says. "I wouldn't worry too much about him, that guy's all talk."

Apparently, after Billy escorted; ahem, dragged Mr. Asshole into the parking lot, he exploded with a barrage of insults. This didn't really faze Billy. He crossed the line when he threatened to stop payment on his credit card and take us all to court. That's when Billy called his bluff by calling the police. As soon as Officer Johnson arrived, Mr. Asshole took off. Typical.

A few weeks later, Mr. Asshole showed up again. Our door guy, who was there the night of the incident, refused to let him in. Mr. Asshole immediately threw a fit, once again proclaiming how much damn money he had. Billy, overhearing the commotion, walked to the front door.

"Is there a problem?" Billy towered over the little man, amused by watching him squirm.

Mr. Asshole's eyes widened to the size of teacup saucers. "I want to come inside," he stammered, in a much subdued tone of voice.

"I tell you what," said Billy, "you can come inside when you own the club."

Billy walked inside as my door guy collapsed into a fit of laughter.

That was the last time we saw Mr. Asshole. He never did stop his credit card payment. We never did go to court.

Come to think of it, I don't think I ever paid Billy that ten dollars.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

David and the Dancers

It's Saturday night, about eleven PM and my bar is slowly filling up when I notice my favorite customer to hate-David, sitting ever so primly at a table by the door.

First let me tell you a little about David. I first met him about a year ago when I was hanging out at my club and the bartender ran off somewhere, so naturally, I jumped behind the bar to help her out. David was one of the patron's standing there.

"Sorry for the wait, darlin', what can I get you to drink." I said, as polite as a southern girl can be.

"Give me a Bacardi and Coke in a tall glass, and you better put some damn alcohol in it."

This is one of my pet peeves. Before I even have a chance to make his drink and hand it to him for sampling, he is already telling me it's not good enough. First of all, I'm not going to give you just soda and charge you $5.00 for it, I'm not that mean (although I have done it before just to see if some drunk guy would notice--he didn't). Secondly, no please, no pleasantries, even after I have apologized for a problem that wasn't even my fault.

As I am making his drink, I delve into pleasant casual conversation, hoping that I can somehow lighten his mood with my such luck.

"What's your name, darlin'?"

"Leroy, now hurry the fuck up."

By this point I'm really angry. Some people (women and men) think that servers/waiters are personal punching bags for the night. Having worked 10 years in the industry, I have never seen it so prominant as in a gentleman's club. For some reason, where women take off their clothes for money, all sense of politeness and general hospitality fly out the window faster than the girls tops on the second song.

"Look," I say, gritting my teeth, "I'm not even supposed to be here today." As I'm saying it, flashes to Donte in Clerks are running through my head, and the phrase "you'd feel a lot better if you lit in to a few customers every once in a while" is too tempting to ignore. "Besides that," I continue, "I'm standing back here trying to make your drink, apologizing on behalf of my other bartender, trying to make sure that you have a pleasant night, and you have the audacity to talk to me in a way that is completely rude and uncalled for. I'm not even sure if you should be served this drink because I'm assuming that one would have to be quite drunk to speak to me like that."

At this point my boss is giving me the look that says "are you okay? Do we need to kick this guy out?" I love my job mainly for that reason. We don't put up with bullshit from people.

To my surprise "Leroy" apologizes, introduces himself by his real name, David, and gives me the standard "I've had a bad day, blah blah blah." I've had a quasi-relationship with him since, mainly because I'm the only person there he's nice to.

Flash foreward to Saturday night. Two unsuspecting dancers move to David's table. I can see trouble before trouble starts.

After I've taken their drink orders, I jokingly tell the dancers "make sure you don't put up with any of David's shit." And then, not-so-jokingly, I tell David to be nice. Before I have even returned with their drinks the girls are gone.

"What happened to the girls," I inquire, setting the drinks down on the now-deserted table.

"Fat bitches pissed me off. And one of them stole my fucking lighter. Cows. I'm leaving, I'm never coming back here again."

This is standard response from David. I don't think I've ever seen him leave in a good mood. I should have warned the dancers not to try and hustle him, but it would've been pointless. If you go into a strip club, expect to get hustled. Before I even get inside the dressing room to give the girls their drinks I can hear the yelling.

"That motherfucker called me an asshole! Can you fucking believe that! He called me an asshole!"

"What happened?" I ask, not beacuse I am surprised, but because it's the right thing to do.

"I asked him if he wanted a dance, and he said he would buy me a drink but that was it. So I told him he shoudn't come in if he didn't want to spend any money. Then he called me an asshole. Fucking prick."

I catch my bosses eye in the mirror and he winks. Inwardly I smile. Ahhhh David. Sometimes I appreciate the spice he brings.

To Blog or Not To Blog

I said I would never blog. In fact, and in all reality, I dropped a class last semester because the professor wanted=actually, required us to blog about class after class every class. I felt that it infringed on my right to oppose blogging, which I did-and to a point still do.

HOWEVER, being an avid reader of several "waiter" blogs, I have decided (and realized) that persons who serve/bartend in gentlemen's clubs should have their voices heard as well. So in abandonment of past morals, I came, I saw...I blogged.
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