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.


Blogger buchilala said...

That was awesome! I've worked in food service, and I always tip at least 15% unless the wait-staff sucks horribly, but even then i tip at least 5% cause i know they need it. It's great that you stuck up for Terry, I've been reading your blog almost from the start. I love that what you write about is real, and a different perspective of an industry often stereotyped. Keep writing, you will always have a reader in me!

9:07 AM  
Blogger KristieD said...

i wish i worked in a place where we could tell the customer how it really is. I have in at other jobs, but that may be why i left those places. I mean, who really needs cheap bastards coming back again and again right? Way to go. I would have done the same thing. **applause**

12:23 AM  
Blogger Savannah said...

Hey. I'm a fan of Waiter Rant, and I noticed he had a new link to this site, and I was completely interested in someone who worked in a dancing bar, so I came over. I chose to comment on this entry because my name is Savannah too, and it's not exactly a common name where I'm from, so I was startled to see it used. ^^

I also noticed you had so few comments, and that's because people are lazy. Don't worry. It'll get up there.

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. You really stood up on behalf of Terry. Of course, now the guy won't come back, and won't drop another $1000 in your bar. So all the strippers who made money off this guy won't make any more. And your establishment won't make any money off of him either. And I'll bet that he'll tell his friends not to go to your bar either. Instead, he'll go to another bar and spend his money there. You really showed him.

Like your blog though. Gives good insight into the inner workings of the titty bar.

9:12 AM  
Blogger i'llnevertell! said...

Wow, you're so insightful! Too bad you don't work with me and know what really goes on. Guess what?!?! They guy does come back, at least he did before he had to go to Georgia for the Air Force. Titty bars are funny like that. Glad you enjoy the blog.

5:04 PM  
Blogger i'llnevertell! said...

Again, I just really really enjoy how people who have something negative to say like to post under anonymous. It really makes my day

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love that you're able to stand up for yourself! Good for you! And who cares if this guy is too embarrassed to come back, you don't need your girls wasting their nights on him anyway!

3:54 PM  
Anonymous Bartneder Savant said...

You Go Girl! That's AWESOME

I can't wait till I put in my two weeks notice at one of my jobs and can call out every cheap motherfucker who thinks 8% is a good tip.

The Service Industry Salutes you, miss-telling-the-cheapskate-how-it-is!


4:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you have to throw the money in his face like child? You were right to be angry about the situation buy damn girl you overreact a little. It sounds to me like the guy just didnt know what he was doing. Not everybody who comes into these clubs knows exactly what to tip a cocktail waitress. You embarrassing the shit out of some guy that just spent alot money your club is a little over the top in my book.

8:23 AM  
Anonymous cocktailler said...

I know exactly what you are talking about! Reading your page is like reading my mind! I too am I strip club waitress and i was stiffed with a ZERO tip on a tab up in the hundreds the other day! The best approach is to usually ask if they think i give bad service or if I was slow, or inattentive. That usually points out the problem very for the ZERO tip, when i mentioned it, the guy yells that he's been tipping me ALL NIGHT!! WOW, I could have barfed.

2:19 PM  

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