The Luv Doc: Big Jars of Dollar Bills

... that they’re not even using

The Luv Doc: Big Jars of Dollar Bills

Dear Luv Doc,

Last week during South by Southwest I had an old college friend and her husband stay with me while attending the Conference. They were in town mainly for the Film Festival, but we ended up going to several day parties so that I could spend some time with my friend because I didn't have a badge. To thank me for letting them stay at my house, the husband always insisted on buying me drinks, but after several trips to the bar with him at different parties, I noticed he wasn't tipping, so I asked if they would let me leave the tip. He brushed me off very dismissively and said, "There's no need for that," but he continued to not tip. So, I began making excuses to get away from them like, "I just saw a friend," or, "I need to go to the restroom," so I could go to the bar and leave a tip. I am in the service industry myself and usually before SXSW I save up a bunch of ones to carry around so I can tip people. Anyway, at some point ... I think it was the Container Bar, my friend caught me putting ones into the tip jar and asked me what I was doing. I told her I was just tipping the bartenders a little extra but she got upset and said that it was insulting to her husband and that the "bartenders at those events get paid a lot of money by the sponsors anyway." We ended up getting into an argument on what was their last day in town. The rest of the day was very awkward and then they left early the next day. We never made up about it. I'm still mad because I know I didn't do anything wrong, but I don't want to lose her as a friend over something like this. Should I call her and apologize or give her some time to come around?

– Tipsy

I don't know about the bartenders out in L.A., but you can always tell Austin bartenders by their sick drip, their Maseratis with customized "BRTNDR" plates parked in the handicapped zone, and their flossy black HOKAs with gold laces. Sure, they can be a little cocky sometimes, but I blame it on all the corporate sponsorship money ... and also the extra 2 inches of BDE (big dude energy) they get from those cushy HOKAs. They're not trying to hear some little 5-foot-10-inch Rothy's loafers-wearing beta cuck complain that the mint leaves in his mojito are under-muddled. "Don't make me come over this bar and break off one of these pillowy, orthopedic trainers in your finicky ass!"

I guess to underfunded L.A. filmmakers, it can probably seem like bartenders are overpaid. To be fair, they always seem to have those big jars of dollar bills – that they're not even using – just sitting on the bar. It's like they're rubbing it in your face. I mean, what do they even do with a whole jar full of ones? Well, besides splitting it with the other bar staff at the end of the night so they can take the bus home because all the street parking has been commandeered by SXSW folks so they can ... presumably ... park William Shatner's stretch Hummer? Chalk out a four square court for Lil Yachty? Make musicians carry their amps a few more blocks? I know there is probably a whiteboard somewhere that fully outlines the dire necessity for blocks and blocks of unused, empty parking spaces in the heart of the Downtown entertainment district during SXSW, but it remains a mystery to me.

So, believe it or not, I kinda feel you. It's hard to condemn your friend for being so astoundingly uninformed about the current state of service industry pay. Maybe she thinks there's a Screen Actors Guild for bartenders. Well, actually, there is. It's called the Screen Actors Guild and they do let in bartenders as long as they have a speaking role in a SAG film. For non-thespian bartenders, well, let's just say they have to rely on the kindness of corporations and, of course, the gratitude and generosity of people like yourself who live in the actual world.

Short of flying out to L.A. and couch-surfing at your friend's place so you can pay their bar tab – with a generous though insulting tip, of course – perhaps give her a phone call in a few weeks to apologize for unintentionally insulting her husband. Perhaps you can also share with her your firsthand knowledge of service industry pay. If she's not willing to listen, maybe she's not your friend.

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