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The martini martyr

There’s a time to give, a time to receive and a time to 86 the cute bartender

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As many of you might know, I am always in  search of the perfect dirty martini. No one can make it like my dad. This is one of the many lessons my dad passed down to me. It may seem odd and even sad to a few of you, especially the teetotalers, but martini making has always been a tradition in my family. So it made me sad when I heard one of the only bartenders in town that made me a great dirty martini was fired. And rightfully so…

You see, this bartender fell into the trap of feeling comfortable in his job; too comfortable. He performed his tasks well, engaged the customers, and to top it off, he was cute as a button. He was valuable. A good bar/restaurant employee is hard to find, and he knew that.

Many times employees like this develop a sense of entitlement when they work at an establishment. They also may feel that they are not properly compensated for all they do. This can lead to stealing. Not necessarily walking out the door with product, but sliding free drinks to customers. Many people would not consider this stealing, but it is.

Have you ever had a server or bartender “comp” you a drink for a screw-up or just because they like you? I guarantee in most cases that server/bartender is not buying you that drink. The owner is, and the server/bartender comes out looking like the nice guy. Think about this the next time a bartender or server offers you a freebee. Someone has to pay for it, maybe even you when they have to raise their prices to cover the loss.

This is what my cute bartender did. He bought some swanky girls drinks. They were most likely tripping over their own tongues talking to him, and he fell for their siren songs. The bar owner found out and cutie bartender gets fired. It’s too bad he had to be fired, but the owner didn’t really have any other recourse. He was stealing.

Again, there is this misconception that we small business owners are rolling in dough and a few free drinks here and there aren’t going to hurt anything. Add up these few free drinks every day for a year and that can become quite a little fortune.  Every penny counts, especially in the restaurant biz when a good margin for profit lingers around 3 percent.

Speaking of misconception and profit, I have been barraged with nonprofit agencies looking for donations basically all the time. Having worked for a few nonprofits in the past, I understand the need. However, I find it amusing when they emphasize the fact that they are “nonprofit”. It really is all I can do not to say, “Listen sweetheart, believe it or not, I am also a nonprofit. Would you like to see my books from last year?” Little ol’ me should be out begging for donations.

Now that I have ranked on nonprofits, I need to give them equal time by promoting all the good they do for our community. Be sure to drop a buck or two into the Salvation Army bucket or drop off a nice warm coat and blanket to the Tacoma Rescue Mission. ’Tis the season to think of others, and there are lots of folks in our community that need your help. Maybe even a restaurant owner or recently fired bartender.

And be sure to remember your favorite server this Christmas by sliding a little extra tip for a job well done. This goes for your babysitter, dog walker, hair stylist, personal trainer, paper delivery person, gardener, etc. It’s been a tough year, so give them some monetary sugar.

Eat out Tacoma. We need your love.

Sandee Glib has worked in the restaurant business and hospitality industry for more than 12 years as a server, bartender, cook and owner. Her opinions are expressly her own and she is always right.

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