(I couldn’t find an appropriate photo, and I wanted to get this out there before I head to work tonight. Sorry – JM)
I went to the bar last night with a coworker, whom I was treating to drinks on my tab. When we got the bill, it was very high, so we asked to have an itemized list of the drinks we were charged for. That’s when another bartender told us that some girl had been charging Jack and Cokes on my tab, without my knowledge.
Well, long story short, our bartender, a young girl, came right back WITHOUT an itemized list, but with a smaller bill, excluding the Jacks, I guess. While outside, her friends said, “Do you think that girl (me) knows that we drank on her tab?”
So, now I am very leery of starting tabs, especially at my local, favorite bar. Got any suggestions to prevent this from happening in the future?
It sucks, doesn’t it? When you enter into a trust-based relationship with a professional, there is an unspoken agreement that, to me at least, feels somewhat binding. What you’re saying, in effect, when you hand your card over to a bartender at the beginning of the night is, “Hey, bartender. I promise not to get so wasted that I leave this bar without signing my tab, stiffing you on the tip, or arguing about every single drink I promised to buy.”
What the bartender is saying is this: “Hey, customer. I promise not to be a gigantic motherfucking douchebag and charge you for a bunch of shit that you didn’t ask for.”
Kat, my dear, your bartender reneged on the contract. So, yeah, I’ve got a couple of suggestions to prevent this from happening to you in the future:
1. Don’t ever set foot in that bar ever again. I’m serious. A bar that can’t be trusted with a simple thing like your tab can’t be trusted with your safety. If they can’t keep a girl from charging her drinks to a stranger’s tab, do you really think the bartenders at this establishment are vigilant enough to prevent someone from slipping something in your drink, diffusing a potentially dangerous confrontational scene or handling any of the other potentially scary situations that can present themselves to female patrons in bars? My advice is to steer clear of this joint, and any other establishments owned by the same proprietors.
2. Only carry cash and never run a tab. Yeah, it sucks. Never mind the fact that you have to find an ATM, you also have to be walking around with a bunch of cash in your pocket. But think of it this way: even if you were to be robbed of your sixty dollars, or even if it fell out of your pocket onto the street or bar floor, wouldn’t that one time still be cheaper than letting everyone in the bar walk all over your tab?
3. Print this post out and hand it to the bartender in question. Then I’ll address the bartender personally. You ready? Okay, here we go:
Dear Bartender I’ve Never Met:
Hey, dumbshit. Some of us are trying to make a career out of this. And you’re fucking it up for the rest of us who actually take our jobs seriously. Did you really think it was okay to just throw a bunch of shit on my friend Kat’s tab without checking with her first? Do you think that anyone else, in any other business in the world, would let that kind of shit slide?
Here’s what advice I’m giving Kat: First, I’ve suggested that she never, ever set foot in your bar again. You’re reckless, unsafe, and a disgrace to the profession. However, if she decides not to heed my advice and does happen to pop in for a drink, I’m recommending that she pays for each drink, with cash, each time. And when she does, I want you to know that she’s only doing it because she doesn’t trust you.
Good luck to both of you. My readers and I all know you’re going to need it.