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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The 5 tiers of tipping: According to Bret

I titled this with the postfix "According to Bret" because everyone has his or her own views on tipping. And I also can't delve into this story without humbling myself by explaining how I learned and how I started out. I wasn't always the drunken-sailor-tipping machine that you all know today. I was once a whistler, a "hey sweetheart can you...", a bar thumper, a chair stander, a basically horrible patron. Michael Oliver taught me the ways of behaving properly in a bar, or at least he attempted, and after that I have developed my own theories about tipping and going out to bars.

Tipping is not an art. Tipping is not a science. Tipping is a sacrifice of one's money in order to receive perks. What perks? These perks aren't much but in the long run you'll be glad that you tipped. In the long run there is free food, free drinks, after hours non-kick out stays, sex with bartenders, free drinks, music veto privileges, tv veto privileges, free drinks, a smile from a pretty bartender, a handshake from a bouncer, a fight backer upper, a voucher for how cool you are, free drinks, and of course barfly friends. Wheeeewwww that is a long list. And of course the question remains, why do we want these perks? Girls. When in doubt for an answer to your own questions, the answer almost always comes up 'girls'. Every single time most of what you do is about vajaja.

Anyway, enough about girls. Fest walks into my room this morning and starts bitching about the tips he is receiving this week. Tipping is one of my biggest pet peeves and it is impossible to hang out with my friends and I without learning the art of the tip. That's not saying that you have to tip like a drunken sailor every time you go out, but when appropriate, you tip, and you tip well. And although I understand Michael's situation at not making a ton of money, I have to admit that he might not totally be in the right here. I think Fest might be a casualty of a tier 1 bar.

Tipping, ahh how I love you. Here are the standard tipping standards that my friends and I follow.

Tier 1 - the bottom feeders - Tier 1 is usually a TGIF, or Ruby Tuesday's in a different city or town where I never go. The food was brought out and it was awful, the wait staff checked on me once and I basically already know that my evening has been wasted. The main ingredient to the tier 1 tip is that I will never return. If I know that I will never return to a bar or restaurant I will more than likely not tip well.

50$ tab - tip = 10$ - Now most of you cheap motherfuckers are looking at that as though it's a good tip. Well, it's not. It's a normal tip you penny pinching poor sons of bitches. If this how you normally tip than you more than likely do not ever want to hang out with me. Which brings me to side point #1 - THE TAB BANDITS

Tab bandits are the groups of suck people I see divvying up a tab at a bar. These are the people who have conversations at the end of the night that sound like this:

1: Dude, you own me another 6$ because you had most of the Mozz sticks and I only had 1.
2: Yeah but your Miller Lite bottle was 3$ and my draft was 2$ so that makes it $5.
1: Yeah you're right.
3: I owe $12.50
1: Well, it's $13 with tip.
Total tab on the evening 37.50. Somebody just grab the fucker and pay it. People who do this are the worst. I can't stand them. This sets a bad precedence of cheapness and awkwardness every time you go out. You go out to celebrate life not to clip coupons or haggle over 3$. This fucks with my Chi and I hate it. Which is why most of the time I grab the tab simply because I don't want to look at some douche bag reading over a laundry list of food trying to figure out if the waitress chinced him on the extra ranch dressing. You don't go looking for drink specials and you don't fret over 50$. You pay the fucking tab, you say to your friends, "buy me a beer at the next place". Man, the fuckin boring lives these people must lead to divide up 30$. Go kill yourself.

Tier 2 - The Once in a Whilers - This for me would be a bar like Mother's or MacJerks or Mums. You go there maybe once a month. You sort of know the bartender's names. You know the jukebox pretty well but you have no real privileges here. You don't get hooked up for more than one drink out of 6 and that's usually only if you are by yourself and engage the bartender in conversation. Your friends may know a bartender or two but for the most part you stay trim here.

50$ tab - tip 15$. A decent tab and you more than likely got charged for everything. But this is a nice friendly tip that keeps you in good graces.

Tier 3 - The Return -
The return bar is the 2 or 3 bars you used to go to back in the day, or they could be seasonal bars. These bars for me are Sliders, O'sheas, Red Star, Midtown. The bartenders might remember you if they've been there long enough but it's more the owners that remember your old drunken escapades. The hook up here can vary like a pendulum. If you get a new guy that has never seen you before because you haven't been there in 3 months and he asks you for a credit card to run a tab, don't get upset, just ask how the owner is doing or one of the bartenders and you'll be fine within a minute. I have walked into these bars and drank all night for free and other times been charged every penny. That's just the way it goes, but usually you starts getting perks at tier 3. Tier 3 perks include, free drinks, no cover charge, drinks with staff, free food. Now these perks aren't there all the time but when they arrive it's a nice feeling.

50$ tab - tip 30$. This is an obvious gesture on your part to say thank you. Basically, what you want here is to at least pay for what you know you have drank. On a 50$ tab you probably drank 75$ of crap and you want to pay for that. If the bartender trusts you enough to help them steal then you need to abide by those rules. You also need options for later use. You tip well here to keep yourself in good graces. If you screw over the The Return bar, the next time it may be costly to you.

Tier 4 - The weekly
- The weekly bar is where you go to watch ball games or eat. You don't usually go there to tear it up and you more than likely don't know a ton of the patrons but you know the bartenders and you more than likely have gone out on the town with them. For us, these bars are Ryleigh's, Now Way Jose, and Sean Bolan's. The hook up ratio varies from time to time because you aren't tier 5 with them but then again you more than likely have tipped your face off here more than once so you get the hook once for every time you have hooked them up. I.e. you tipped 100% one night, the next time, half your beers are free and you tip normal. But, the time after that you are back on the 100% pay scale. Your perks here range from booze and never waiting for drinks to rigged door prizes and after hours parties.

50$ tab - tip 30$. Yeah I know it's the same as the tier 3 but again it's not a given that you get the flat hook up. The 30$ signifies thanks and allows you to keep tier 4 status.

Tier 5 - Your bar - You can have multiple tier 5's but I haven't gotten there yet. It takes an extreme amount of dedication to have a tier 5. You have to know all bartender's names, bar back's names, and owner's name. You never wait for a drink, and they know your drink without asking. And you reading this say to yourself, "My bar does that for me." Yeah well, the difference between you being a boozehound and me being a tip artist is that you people pay for your drinks whereas I don't. How do you get to do this? How do you get to do anything at this bar you want? Well - it's not all about money. It's about time, flirting, behavior, jokes, and bringing them more business to counteract your free boozing. Here's how you can start.
First - Find a bar you like. Try somewhere a little quiet and off the beaten path. It should have a small touch of originality and not be a complete shit box. It also shouldn’t be a meat market with 500 people in there a night.
Second - Go there 3 or 4 times alone during the day or early evening or a weekday night and talk to the bartenders.
Third - Bring your friends there, and not 50 of them, but enough that you feel comfortable picking up the tab. Make sure you are well mannered but, and this is important, looking like you are having a kick ass time. Bartenders like to see people having fun at their bar. They don't want to see 5 creepy looking dudes standing around holding each other's dicks. They want to have fun just like you do.
4th - The time you bring your friends pay the tab yourself and leave a 100% tip. Yes a 100% tip. If it's a 50$ tab and you didn't get hooked up don't get pissed. You've only been there 5 times. Just say thank you for the great time and leave the tip.
5th - Rinse and repeat step 4.

Before you know it you are behind the bar on a Friday mixing drinks without permission. Before you know it you have your bar and you'll thank me for it.

I also want to make something very clear about tipping. I'm not buying anyone's love like you do with a dog, by giving him bacon. I'm showing appreciation. I'm paying the price for entertainment the same way you pay to go to a concert or fly first class. I like the perks of never waiting for a beer or having a big tittied bartender poor me shots in the envy of other men. I enjoy that shit. And you all know you do too...

So back to Mike's dilemma of not making any money off of tips this weekend. People would come up and order 6 beers and pocket the 2$ change out of the 20. Mike needs to understand that these people aren't planning on returning and they don't give a fuck about you. Now, if they return to get more beers you have to make your play as a bartender. You can either ignore them or bluntly ask them why they don't tip. That's Mike's choice. What Mike needs to understand is that very few people understand the art of tipping and you know what, that's fine with me. I get hook ups all around town and I like it. If everyone tipped like me then I wouldn't be special and people would be majoring in bartending in college because they'd be making 200k a year. But, hey, all you fucks out there that don't want to tip, you know what, you'll always be the asshole that doesn't tip.

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