Del, a bartender somewhere in the Midwestern United States, happens to be black. After reading about the black, female bartender, he thought he’d share with us what it’s like to be a black male tending bar.
After reading the post by a black female bartender, I thought I’d share my thoughts as a male in a similar situation. I’ve been working in bars and restaurants since I was 21. I’m in my late 30′s now. So, I’ve gathered quite a bit of knowledge. I’ve worked in dive bars, college bars, hotel bars, dance clubs, fine dining restaurants, and casual restaurants.
Now, as far as tipping goes, I of course know the old saying how black folks don’t tip. And like most STEREOTYPES (which it is) there is some basis in fact. BUT, what I’ve noticed is that this had has much to do with CLASS than anything else, and let’s face it “ghetto” people of any race tip poorly. And when a server or bartender gets a poor tip they tend to remember that a lot longer than they do the average tip. And thus the cycle perpeuates itself. And it is a cycle. If a bartender or server thinks the average black person isn’t going to tip them well, the odds are the service isn’t going to be very good. And if you’re the average, never worked in the business customer, how well would you tip on poor service? And thus the cycle continues. Having worked in the biz for as long as I have, I always tip well. But that’s because I know what I know. Is there a solution? You tell me?
Personally, I don’t like what Del is saying. If you’re a good service industry worker, you’re going to give everyone great service. If you’re a shitty service industry worker, you’re going to give everyone shitty service. If you’re somewhere in between, you’re going to have good days and bad days, giving good service and bad service. Del is feeding to the easy out a lot of asshole customers use, regardless of merit. Jerks who just don’t like to tip, but have some kind of guilt conscious, will always try to find some reason not to tip. If there isn’t one, they’ll try to create one or just make one up.
Personally, I give everyone a shot at great service. Only after they start acting like jerks does that quality of service change. Truth is, I really never know what kind of tip I’m going to get from people. Another truth is, by and large, black people far exceed any other demographic when it comes to stiffing me, leaving me a shitty tip, and treating me like trash.
Even though management frowns upon this behavior, many service industry workers, not unlike myself, go into what I call “robot mode”. Regardless of race, color, etc. etc., you’re getting the same quality of service that everyone else has had. What gets me to snap out of robot mode is when someone is exceptionally awesome to provide service for, or someone who I’d like to punch to sleep.
Special thanks to Galena for the featured image. It was really hard to find a picture of a black bartender. Why, I don’t know.