Serving drinks in a college town like Boulder can be tough because you deal with a lot of snotty college kids and sometimes snottier rich folks. My tips paid for my education at CU, and I can tell a million funny stories. A lot of my old stories come from snotty people.
Nearly all of them come from tipping. Sometimes people forget or just don’t want to tip. Some folks take things too seriously and give exactly 15 percent all the way to the penny or nickel. Others try to be cool and leave a dollar a drink, but that’s not so cool on a tab with six completely different and difficult-to-mix cocktails. A few will toss a big tip in the beginning and expect to be treated like royalty for the rest of the evening — which usually works. A standard amount of drinkers will do the standard amount of tipping.
Living in Boulder mysteriously makes me think of karma. Maybe Boulderites’ snottiness toward me came from my past.
Whenever a disgustingly rude kid treats his angelic bartender (me) like a subservient Amazon Echo with a pulse, I try to remember I was once a disgustingly rude kid. That settles me down and shuts me up.
Around the corner from my dorm in NYC was a bar called Finnerty’s Irish Pub — the most amazing place in the world. Pitchers of Bud Light for $7! Finnerty’s was once a working man’s happy hour spot, but it quickly became the biggest bar in town. Students showed up, which meant college girls showed up, which meant men of all ages showed up, which meant everybody seemed to be there, which meant the bar was crowded.
Plus, pitchers for less than 10 bucks is a steal in NYC. The bartenders poured these pitchers as fast as possible. Then they handed the plastic beer jugs to a backward-hat Fred Durst wannabe, a cradle robber or a college chick hoping to be the next “Sex and the City” columnist.
Ugh, as I type this, I want to go back in time and punch myself.
Finn’s bartenders didn’t always fill pitchers perfectly. Sometimes your half gallon of Bud Light arrived all foamy. So one night, speaking in my holier-than-thou, “I am Smart Enough to Go to College” voice, I complained to the sweating bartender: “You know, my friends and I buy drinks here. Our tips pay your salary. I expect a full pitcher when I stand in line and wait for these beers.”
Time traveling to kick my own ass sounds so perfect and justifying.
I remember she filled the remaining inch or two on my pitcher, but I don’t know if I tipped her better than usual or what happened next. I probably played darts.
That bartender probably karma-cursed me to be a complete loser who pours drinks to snotty punks for the rest of my life. And I deserve that.
I need to remember that I can’t get mad at little turds. I’ve been that person. I wish I wasn’t. Maybe this curse of loserness can be passed onto another person, and maybe if I die without passing it on, the entire world will be kind to each other. I can always dream that will come true. And of $7 pitchers.