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Monday, September 22, 2008

Comment of the Day

posted by on September 22 at 16:38 PM

Over in the reader comments on our 2008 Back to School Guide (or Your Indispensable Guide to the Things No One Else Will Tell You by the Only Newspaper in Seattle That Isn’t Ridiculous and Irrelevant™), we find this remark from the_smith:

I find the bar I work in taken over by college age kids who are impatient and messy and don’t tip. Stranger, you gave great advice about how to order a drink like an adult but that needs an etiquette follow-up. Please mention the buck-a-drink standard and tipping at least 15%, esp. late. I can put up with any kind of self-obsessed faux-intelligencia as long as I am being paid to do so. This will make my world and in turn your world a much better place. Thanks and keep up the great writing.

the_smith, who is entirely correct about this glaring omission, refers to the following section of the Everything You Need to Know About Life section of The Guide to End All Guides:

How to Drink Like an Adult

Do not order a rum-and-anything. Do not order a Diet-and-anything. Do not drink anything that is pink or anything that is blended. Do not drink malt liquor or schnapps of any variety. Do not drink anything containing flecks of gold or taurine. Do not order any drink that has more than three components; two components are preferable. Do not partake in any drinking that involves dropping one beverage into another, nor in any drinking that involves a funnel…. All of these fall into two basic rules which also apply to life as a whole: Don’t get too complicated about it and don’t be an asshole.

Tipping clearly falls under the “don’t be an asshole” rule, but it absolutely should’ve been said outright. Youth of today: Tip, and tip well. Otherwise, drink at home.

The writer of the guide is being disciplined.


The beautiful drawings for the 2008 Back to School Guide are by Jessixa Bagley.

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For the past 2 years I have adhered to the policy of always tipping 20% for tabs under $20.

This is my way of investing in my neighborhood.

Lunches, drinks, etc require a 20% tip.

Posted by John Bailo | September 22, 2008 4:40 PM



Posted by Non | September 22, 2008 4:41 PM

Don't hand over 20% extra of a product's value to somebody who transfers liquid from a tap to a glass to your table.

It's asinine, it's not deserved, and the greed and self-entitlement of it all is apparent in this very letter

Posted by Jillian | September 22, 2008 4:44 PM

@2: Look, your family came to visit me:

Posted by John Bailo | September 22, 2008 4:46 PM

$1 per drink is a stupid rule. I am NOT paying some asshole bartender with a sense of entitlement $1 to open my PBR.

Posted by w7ngman | September 22, 2008 4:46 PM

So you, the bar, have already charged me $8.50 for this one glass of whine from which the bottle at whole costs $9.00. Figuring in the fact that you, the bar, got it wholesale for probably $6.00 a bottle....and still feel that I should pay your help 20% extra?

No thanks.

Posted by perpetual drunkness | September 22, 2008 4:49 PM

As a long term server, I always thought a buck a drink was over the top--especially for a beertender. I tip 20% on my bill if I have a tab. I tip a buck on the first drink if I am ordering from the bar and then leave whatever I feel appropriate based on service when I leave.

But always tip...if you can't afford a tip, you should drink at home.

Posted by tiptoe tommy | September 22, 2008 4:49 PM

If I don't have a tab, I'll always put a dollar in just so the people behind me know that I tipped something; not exactly for the "service" rendered.

Posted by Drudged | September 22, 2008 4:52 PM

Those drawings are very lovely, but is it just me or are they rather Dzama-ish?

Posted by Levislade | September 22, 2008 4:54 PM

i'd tip 20% for a cocktail that was basically 2 cocktails such as the screwdrivers at the 5 point.

I wont tip 20% for tap monkey.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 22, 2008 5:06 PM

Surely this isn't the comment of the day, but just a vehicle for plugging that the stories have comment features now?

Because it is a really shitty comment.

It was just a plug for the comments feature, right? RIGHT?

Posted by Aarrroonn | September 22, 2008 5:13 PM

^ 11 has a good point. I think accurately the comment of the day would be from the same thread:

the annual (back to school issue), completely lame, attempt to "win" the hearts and minds of innocent college freshman so that the stranger can milk what they can from u-district advertisers the rest of the year.

so tired. the "neighborhoods" section pretty much tells you Everything You Need to Know About The Stranger. Too cool for school. Study hard kids, or you'll be working for a low wages at a rag like this one and resenting 85% of Seattle for their apparent wealth.

Posted by Steph in St. Lu | September 22, 2008 5:16 PM

a question for the grownups: tipping at at open bar, yes/no/maybe/a/s/l?

Posted by sherman | September 22, 2008 5:18 PM

@13 I have tipped at open bars, for one of two reasons:
1. The bar service was above and beyond what I was expecting (i.e. lightning-fast service at a crowded wedding)
2. The bartender is putting up with an inordinate amount of shit and I feel pity for him/her. But that's kind of a general rule for any kind of tipping.

Posted by Hernandez | September 22, 2008 5:28 PM

Whoa, people think $1 per drink is crazy? Even when I made minimum wage in my early twenties I'd tip a dollar on every beer. What the hell is wrong with people, they think the $4.25 an hour and the privilege to hang out with your cheap asses is enough to make for a friendly bartender?

If you don't want to indulge in the customs, stay home. If the extra $5 for a night out is gonna break the bank, you shouldn't be out at the bars. Finally, if you're just not tipping on principle, well, who needs another asshole at the bar?

Posted by Dougsf | September 22, 2008 5:44 PM

i'm going to break new ground in psychology by inventing the "do you tip for drinks" test for asperger's syndrome. we live in a society, and if don't follow social rules and niceties you either need to try your hardest to learn them or get a tattoo that says "assweed" on your forehead.

Posted by jrrrl | September 22, 2008 5:52 PM

@15 - bartenders make at least the regular minimum wage in WA ($8.07/hr), whereas in most states they make the reduced federal wage for food/beverage tipped workers). I can't find the reduced wage info (very brief search) but the federal minimum wage is currently $6.55. Other than that, I agree with Dougsf.

Posted by genevieve | September 22, 2008 6:05 PM

Businesses here in SF - legal or not (I'm not sure if it's been remedied yet) - often pay bartenders and wait staff below minimum wage, or nothing, as a base salary.

But no disrespect intended on shorting them that dollar amount I made up.

Posted by Dougsf | September 22, 2008 6:20 PM

Bars definitely fall into the "must tip" category. I don't think there's any gray area here. $1 a drink is pretty standard for me, though I'll admit that if I'm getting more than one drink, it might be less than that, especially if it's just beer (e.g., $2 for three).

The "don't order" list is stupid though. Obviously beer bongs and Goldschlager are only for the kiddies, but I'm 30 and I still order a Diet-and-x (no sugar) or a Cosmopolitan (they're tasty, and I don't care that you are too cool for them) on occasion.

Posted by Julie in Chicago | September 22, 2008 6:42 PM

You're going to tell me I can't order rum and coke and then want a dollar tip? Ferget it.

Posted by Banna | September 22, 2008 7:32 PM


Posted by phillip drummond | September 22, 2008 7:55 PM

The writer of the guide is being disciplined, eh? Is he enjoying it?

Posted by hehehe | September 22, 2008 9:50 PM

The drawings are cute or whatever, in that retro 2002 kind of way, but "Jessixa" has got to be the stupidest fucking name in the history of the human race.

Posted by Emily | September 22, 2008 9:53 PM

Don't like you pay? Get a raise or a new job. Don't fucking beg from your customers

Posted by asdf | September 22, 2008 10:19 PM

Not a lot of adult drinkers in this comment list. Hope you like the spit in your beverages the next time you come in.

Posted by Smade | September 23, 2008 8:06 AM

Wow, Emily aka comment #23--- who put the sand in your vagina today?

Posted by Nony Mouse | September 23, 2008 8:16 AM

The duality of demanding extra and if not received, spitting in your drink, demonstrates precicely why this is not a special profession which deems extra commission.

These are children who never moved on from their first minimum wage jobs; only on to "better" minimum wage jobs with over-the-table bonuses (as a play on under-the-table).


Posted by Non | September 23, 2008 9:07 AM

If there were a bar or restaurant on Capitol Hill that would pay its workers well enough and then ask that you not tip (or at least just Euro-style tip), I would patronize it exclusively. Until then, I'll continue to tip at least 18-20% and $1 per drink. Anything else is probably a sign of mild sociopathy (or aspergers, per @16).

Posted by Q*bert H. Humphrey | September 23, 2008 10:10 AM

You know, I understand that the pay sucks for bartenders, on top of the other shit they have to deal with. But don't you think that you're blaming the wrong person for why you aren't getting paid well? I'm not signing the checks.

Now, sure, I'm going to be giving you a tip in the 15-25% range anyway, but I want us to both understand that my doing that is what enables your boss to stiff you on your wages.

Posted by Greg | September 23, 2008 12:15 PM

@13 and 14 That is a generous impulse and the answer lies in the type of event. If private, such as a wedding, large holiday bash, etc you do not tip. The open bar is being paid for by your host and is therefore an extension of your host's hospitailty. When I invite people to my home I am not asking them to subsidize the evening by paying my help. You don't tip your friends after they have given you dinner in their homes so you shouldn't tip their help when they they invite you to a large party with staff.

If it is some corporate event and you are bribing the bartender to serve you before others then that is something else entirely.

Posted by inkweary | September 23, 2008 1:27 PM

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