Jo-Ann Rogan was bartending at Philadelphia dive bar McGlinchey’s on Thursday night, as she has many times over the course of her 21 years there. And on this particular Thursday night, Rogan had an all-too-familiar encounter with one of the most dreadful things that a Philadelphia bartender has to contend with: cheap Ivy League brats.
The cheap Ivy League brats in question were taking part in Walnut Walk, a pub crawl for graduating University of Pennsylvania seniors. McGlinchey's wasn't on the official Walnut Walk lineup (which included the Irish Pub, McGillin's, and... City Tavern?!), but a large group from the walk wandered into the 15th Street bar anyway in the early evening hours.
"It was as full as it would be for St. Patrick's Day or New Years Day," writes Rogan in a post titled "The Moral of the Story, Assholes" on her personal blog, punkymama.com, where she also writes about being a mother to an autistic son and the lead singer of recently reunited punk group Thorazine. "We ran our asses off serving these kids... It was hard work."
In the middle of the "melee," as she characterizes it, someone ordered four kamikazes.
Now, McGlinchey's is not really the kind of place where people do a lot of kamikaze drinking. It is very much a beer-and-shot bar. And asking a bartender to make chilled mixed shots during a mad bar rush is a pretty good way to elicit the hairy eyeball. But Rogan, being the consummate bar veteran that she is, didn't bat an eyelid and went to work on the drinks.
"This required some mixing and measuring," she explains. "I made them really tasty for them and poured them out."
One of the bros in the group handed Rogan a $100 bill to cover the $25.60 round. When she got to the cash register, she realized that there was another $100 bill stuck to the back of the $100 bill he intended to hand her. (Note: The new $100 bills do seem to stick together quite a bit, as my bank teller told me last week.)
Being an honest person, she quickly returned the accidental $100 bill and the gave him his $74.40 change from the transaction.
And what was her gratuity? Forty cents, which she split with her partner behind the bar.
Now, if you are a 20-percent tipper or a $1-per-drink tipper (really the only acceptable minimum these days), the tip would have been anywhere from $4 to $5.12. But this party left precisely ten cents per drink or a 1.56 percent tip for the round. And, again, that gets split down the middle between the shift's two bartenders.
"Forty fucking cents," she writes. "I am used to getting the occasional non-tipper or bad tip, but these kids under tipped on a grand scale."
And then she offers a lesson in tipping:
The moral of the story is teach your children the etiquette of tipping young. My kids know how to tip. Often when the paper boy comes, or we are at the ice cream place, or even at a restaurant, I show them how to figure out a tip. Some people live off tips. My pay at the bar is 90% tips.
I started my kids so young with the idea of tipping, they often ask why we tip one service provider and not another. It is a good, honest question and I do my best to explain thoughtfully.
At the end of the night I worked much harder than normal, but made less than I usually make because of the pub crawl. In my eyes tipping should be taught at home along with right and wrong. Tipping is part of our culture and it is not going to go away anytime too soon.
I am not sore about giving that man his hundred back. I believe my good deed will in some way be rewarded because... Karma is a motherfucker.
Someone get the Tips for Jesus guy over to McGlinchey's pronto. Rogan works Thursday and Friday nights.