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A Tipping Incident Gone Wrong…

by J. Money on Monday, September 30, 2013

pabst pbr

So I had one of those Seinfeld moments Saturday night when I had to chose between being “socially acceptable” or “that guy.” Kinda like the time when George and a friend decide to split the check down the middle, only to find out they wanted to tip differently than each other and one of them was about to look bad, haha… Only in my case, it was up to me how bad I wanted to look ;)

Here’s how it went down:

  • A friend and I hit up a hip local art show – her dressed up very classy as always, me dressed in my jeans and cowboy boots while rockin’ the hawk.
  • We show up not knowing a soul – which is okay because it’s an art show, not a house party – and quickly realize it was “semi-formal” attire. Something we both missed in the flyer we got, only one of us stood out more than the other (*ahem*)
  • We go right in anyways and start perusing the local paintings as all good art-purveyers do – slowly walking from one canvas to another, thumbing our chins as if contemplating the story behind each unique piece (all the while REALLY wondering what the hell half this stuff is).
  • We get to the end of the first wall, when I – almost literally – run into an old friend from college I hadn’t seen in at LEAST 13 years. And my oh my has that guy changed. A complete 180 from a shy little comic nerd to a larger – more manly- ‘stache sportin’ art aficionado. And apparently somewhat of a local celebrity (who’s still very much into comics, mind you, but somehow it seems more cool this time around).
  • “Good for you man, good for you” – I say as we start catching up…

Now I should pause here for a second and let you know that we’re literally standing RIGHT in front of the makeshift bar at this place. With Mr. Bartender-of-the-year behind it, and a gaggle of girls flocking around him (he’s mighty attractive).  Oh, and there’s a big honkin’ tip jar in front too – which will become pretty important in about 30 seconds.

  • So the friend I came with wanders off knowing I’m about to chat this guy’s ear off for a good 10 minutes (which actually turns into almost 40) and about mid-way through our convo I realize I’m damn thirsty for an ice old beer. Which is literally 2 feet behind us.
  • I do the quick “time-out” gesture a la 3rd grade, and quickly ask Hottie McBartender for “a cold one.” Which naturally means “Pabst Blue Ribbon,” of course. I mean, this is a pretty hip art show you know ;) And while I do happen to like it, the beer itself is irrelevant.
  • What is NOT irrelevant, however, was that big tip jar I mentioned just a handful of seconds ago. The one now staring me in the face, along with my new old friend and the most handsome bartender around (have I mentioned how good looking he was yet?).
  • My friend mentions it’s an open bar, and I think to myself – “Great! All I gotta do is tip then.”

And this is where the dilemma comes in…

  • I reach into my pocket to pull out a crisp $1 bill – the most agreed upon tip when it comes to drinking beer  – free or not – and out comes a $10 bill. ACK!! That’s not what I want!!
  • I joke around and say something like “Hah! It doesn’t taste *that* good!” and thrust my hand right back into my pocket to see what else I could find. And within the half-second it took me to get there and back, the horror sets in that – nope, you do NOT have any of those dollar bills you were just blogging about 24 hours ago. You spent them all on junk food, you idiot!
  • All I had on me was that $10 bill which my wife so generously lent me so I wouldn’t be out of cash on the town – my 2nd to worst nightmare, btw, as I was currently playing out my 1st.
  • “Ummm…. (nervous laugh)…”

Now at this point I figure I have one of three options: 1) Give the jar the $10.00 – the thing I absolutely do NOT want to do, 2) Reach into the jar and make *change* for $10.00, that way I can leave $1, or 3) Don’t tip at all and hope no one notices. Considering both manly men were looking directly at me, though, the latter was quickly rejected. Leaving me with either committing a major faux pas (at least that’s what my Spidey sense tells me?), or just sucking it up and dropping the $10 all the while pretending I’m not phased in the least.

  • “Ummm… (nervous laugh, nervous laugh)…”
  • “Here you go. Don’t spend it all in one place!” <—- Who AM I? My parents????”

I bit the bullet and went with route #1: Essentially paying $10.00 for a PBR. I figured it’s not *that* much money at the end of the day, and better to avoid any (more) awkwardness than I probably wanted to deal with anyways (my brain usually defaults to the “quick way out” in cases like these, whether I like it or not). And plus, it’s not like I had a million years to think about it or anything – the whole thing probably happened within milliseconds. It just seemed like it took forever.

And just like that the music turned right back on (you know, cuz it had come to a screeching halt while everyone gawked in anticipation ;)) and all was well in the world again. Except, of course, for my wallet. ‘Cuz not only was I out $10 now, but I was out of ALL CASH ON ME which as you now know is nightmare #2.

My friend and I finished our conversation, I grabbed my other friend, and 10 mins later we were out the door almost as quickly as we came in. Who I then, of course, relayed the whole scenario to and asked what she would have done in my place. Her answer? “Probably the same as you…” Exactly what I wanted to hear, but also exactly what a good friend tells another good friend in times like these ;)

Overall it was a great experience, though, and even better seeing an old friend. It is what it is, and we now have this fun blog post out of it, right? Which also means I get to ask YOU the same question now too (and don’t you give me the answer I *want* to hear, sirs and madams!):

What would you have done if you were me? Dropped the $10, dropped nothing at all, or dropped your hand into the jar and snag yourself some change? The funny thing is I’d have been better off if the open bar was actually just a cash one ‘cuz for $10.00 I could have gotten a whole CASE of PBR! ;)

———-
Photo credit: DieselDemon


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{ 91 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sense September 30, 2013 at 5:14 am

Since there is no way anyone in their right socially acceptable mind can do #2 or #3, I would have gone for #1 like you, option #4: Tip $10 and stayed longer at the art show to get my money’s worth. ;) (Back when I drank a lot I used to use this trick at bars all the time–tip a lot upfront and get awesome service the rest of the night.), or Option #5: Ask to borrow a dollar from the friend I came with. :)

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2 Jim September 30, 2013 at 8:38 am

Ha, I never have $1′s on me so I have to ask my wife, who normally at these types of things would be nearby. I’d probably not have tipped in this situation though.

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3 J. Money September 30, 2013 at 10:28 am

YES!! GOOD IDEA!!! I remember reading an article once on this guy who said it was always good to *leave lots of money* on the counter in front of you while you’re sitting there (not giving it to them, but just putting it there to be used in the future) so that the bartender sees it and treats you well throughout the evening. Mainly because he/she thinks it’ll all go to them by the end – which may or may not be true.

I’ve also blogged before about the idea of tipping BEFORE a meal so you can get excellent service, than waiting to the very end of it, haha… You’re already going to do it anyways, so might as well bilk the rewards right? (With the caveat being there’s always a chance they give you piss poor service and then you’re screwed)

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4 Stephanie October 1, 2013 at 1:44 am

I have a former roommate that starts a meal out with a 25% tip all in $1. He knows about how much he is going to spend and is very generous, buying everyone’s meals. Every time his glass goes empty and isn’t refilled promptly, or something else dumb happens he removed a buck. He took 6 of us out for BBQ once, started out with around $25 toward the tip and the lady ended up with $5 because they were so busy. My now husband and I threw in another $10 after our roommate left because we felt horrible.

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5 J. Money October 2, 2013 at 10:36 am

Hahaha.. your former roommate sounds like an interesting person ;)

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6 Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle September 30, 2013 at 6:41 am

I am so glad that you didn’t reach in the jar and get change. Someone may have thought you were stealing tips and you would have had to explain that you were just being tacky.. You went out unprepared and it cost you. Bet you will never leave the house without a few singles again so it was a good lesson.

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7 J. Money September 30, 2013 at 10:29 am

Exactly – that’s the risk involved of reaching into the jar. And the one that you KNOW George from Seinfeld would have done, and got caught in the act, haha…

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8 Aimee September 30, 2013 at 6:49 am

I would have asked the bartender if he would break the $10 with the quick explanation that I only plan to have this one beer. He would have either pulled out his wallet or grabbed the jar to make change himself. I’m sure this comes up all the time for bartenders.

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9 J. Money September 30, 2013 at 10:30 am

Do you think you’re more comfortable going that route because you’re a girl? I feel like my friend that was with me would have probably gone that route too, but that it’s somewhat more “acceptable” if a woman does it than a man. You think?

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10 Melissa September 30, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Sure, I’m a girl, too, but I also waited tables/bartended for 12 years through high school/college/grad school – that’s totally what I would have done, been all like, “Yo, I really want to leave you a tip, but do you mind making change for me? This is all the cash I have on me. Cool. Thanks.” I’m sure Mr. Sexy Hipster-PBR-tender woulda given you mad props. It’s always awkward when the service person is the same sex (why is that, anyway?) but being upfront definitely would’ve meant you’d left with $9!

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11 J. Money October 2, 2013 at 10:38 am

It IS more awkward when it’s same sex – you’re right! Not much you can do about that though I suppose… thx for chiming in here btw – appreciate it :)

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12 Kevin September 30, 2013 at 7:15 am

Oh no! Awful luck, but yeah I would’ve done the same thing. You CANNOT try to make change from a tip jar…everyone assumes you’re stealing from it. Remember when George put his tip in the jar and no one saw, so he tried to retrieve it so he could “re-tip”? THAT’s when everyone happens to look. Thanks for the entertaining story!

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13 J. Money September 30, 2013 at 10:30 am

YES! Haha… I totally forgot about that one but that happens to me all the time too! :)

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14 Dollar Flipper September 30, 2013 at 7:25 am

I’d definitely have asked the bartender for change. I like to imagine that they’d rather have larger bills at the end of the night instead of just all 1′s. On top of that, by giving you a bunch of 1′s, you’ll probably be more likely to tip later in the night. No way I’d give $10.

And on a side note, NEVER reach into someone else’s tip jar. I had a guy who tried to do that to me back in high school while working at Dunkin Donuts. Worst part was that he was looking for a dime since he thought it was a change jar. Dude, there were 1′s floating in there. He continued to fish around in our Tip jar even after I politely told him that it wasn’t a change jar. Since he was so rude about it, I told him that if he didn’t have the dime, he wouldn’t get the coffee. If he’d have been nice, I would have given him the coffee with a $0.10 discount.

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15 J. Money September 30, 2013 at 10:31 am

Haha… duly noted.

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16 Lance @ Money Life and More September 30, 2013 at 7:39 am

I probably would have left the $10 if everyone was looking, but if no one was watching I probably wouldn’t have done the socially unacceptable and just not left a tip. At least I’m honest!

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17 J. Money September 30, 2013 at 10:33 am

You know, I probably would have too if no one was looking. And then found my friend to ask for a dollar or gone elsewhere to break it and *then* tip the guy his dues… It’s funny how the situation changes when someone (or a couple of someones!) are looking right at you.

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18 SB September 30, 2013 at 7:40 am

I was just at a wedding this weekend, but luckily the tip jar was behind the bar. In your case, I probably would have done what I did with the tip jar in the back – I just asked the bartender “do you have any ones?” and with both the bartenders I talked to they *seemed* very happy to break my larger bills in order to get tipped. Maybe they were actually thinking I was being super tacky! Who knows, tipping makes me so uncomfortable.

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19 J. Money September 30, 2013 at 10:34 am

I feel like at weddings it’s *not* tacky at all to ask for change for a tip, I don’t know why though? Maybe because most people DON’T tip at open bars at weddings? And they’re so happy you are that they’re willing to hook you up? At least that’s my experience at them… sometimes I see the empty jar and it only fills up when I’m coming back to drink! Haha… which is a LOT at those events! ;)

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20 Brian September 30, 2013 at 7:41 am

$10 goes into the tip jar, then I come back for a couple more beers and don’t tip. It evens out. It’s like going to an open bar at a wedding… give the bartender a $20 to start the night, get taken care of maybe tip another $10 – $20 at end depending on how well they did.

Or! If you don’t like the entire tipping thing, move to a country where they don’t tip, then when you leave a tip the bartender really appreciates it and the next time serves you first.

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21 J. Money September 30, 2013 at 10:36 am

Haha, the 2nd route it is! ;)

And actually yeah – if I had planned to stay a lot longer that night (like, if it was a party-party vs an art showing) I totally would have just kept drinking and not tipping. Especially since the bartender saw me drop the $10 already and wouldn’t spit in my beer later when I don’t tip :)

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22 Cam@yourbudgetoryourlife.blogspot.com September 30, 2013 at 7:44 am

Hi J! Because I am Scottish, tipping isn’t really a big thing here, though Ive heard its basically mandatory in the USA? I remember going to several art showings and the bar was free. But if I did live in your society I would probably have phoned the friend I came with, and see if she could make change of the ten for me (from her purse not the jar)

I think you did the best in the situation though!

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23 J. Money September 30, 2013 at 10:36 am

Thanks man! Pretty cool you’re commenting from Scotland too :)

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24 Alex September 30, 2013 at 8:11 am

Tipping sucks as a thing, and as someone who’s worked in restaurants for 10 years I hope we get rid of it someday — and telling me to leave the country if I don’t like it is the most overused excuse because the only people who don’t complain about tipping as a system whenever it comes up in conversation are 1) momentarily attractive wait staff who will receive much smaller tips in 15 years 2) extremely rich people (who apparently don’t have enough places to pay people to behave as they’d like)

But it’s a thing so do it.

At least you could have asked for two fives and left one, that’s nothing to sniff at

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25 J. Money September 30, 2013 at 10:39 am

Haha… I was literally just reading an article about how the amounts of tips you get is very relative to how attractive/flirty you are :) Definitely true!

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26 Brian September 30, 2013 at 8:37 am

I think dropping the $10 spot was your only option. Sure it stings a little, but as other have said you many have want to stick around for another round or maybe one for your friend you came with or your college bud.

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27 Paul September 30, 2013 at 8:39 am

You had no real choice, you had to put the $10 in the jar or look like a complete A$$. I have been in that situation before and you just have to bite the bullet. I am way too introverted to ask the bartender if he can break my $10. That said, I probably would have stayed long enough to have a second beer. $10 per beer is way too expensive (especially for PBR), but $5 is reasonable ;)

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28 J. Money September 30, 2013 at 10:40 am

Yeah, one more beer would have totally made it “OK” :)

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29 Cedes September 30, 2013 at 9:03 am

I think I would have done the same thing. Not one wants to be the ass that pulls out money, and then tips nothing! And you also don’t want to be the one reaching into the tip jar and trying to make “change” for yourself. $10 bucks isn’t so bad in the grand scheme of life. Though, I probably would have stayed a little longer and “bought” myself another beer.

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30 J. Money September 30, 2013 at 10:41 am

Right. It would DOUBLY make me an ass since I showed them the money in the first place, haha… If not it could have been somewhat-believable that I didn’t have any on me, or maybe that I was too caught up in our conversation that you’d chalk it off as “distracted.”

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31 Jackie September 30, 2013 at 9:14 am

Probably I’d have asked my friend and the bartender if they could break a ten. My worst tipping situation was doing valet parking once with a group I’d just met from work, and then realizing I had zero cash. I ended up borrowing cash from a colleague visiting from Ireland.

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32 J. Money September 30, 2013 at 10:41 am

HAH! That’s super embarrassing.

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33 David Hunter September 30, 2013 at 9:41 am

How about option #4: Asking the bartender if you could get change for the $10 bill. Then leave a $2 tip. I wouldn’t blink an eye.

Also, I bet who ever saw you put the $10 bill in the tip jar thought you were crazy or drunk. Ha!

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34 J. Money September 30, 2013 at 10:42 am

I’d like to think they just assumed I was a baller ;)

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35 Stacey September 30, 2013 at 10:02 am

ask for change. i’ve bartended/waitressed quite a bit in my life- there’s no way he “deserved” a $10 tip for handing you a beer so making change for you should not have been an issue!

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36 Done by Forty September 30, 2013 at 10:45 am

Ha! I’ve been in similar situations. I will usually bite the bullet and simply ask the bartender/waitress/cashier to make change. I figure it’s part of the gig. But absent that, you’re on the horns of a real dilemma.

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37 EL @ MoneyWatch101 September 30, 2013 at 10:49 am

J. money ask for change bro, bartenders are more than happy to break any bill because the other half of folks do not tip. Unless you would have ordered three drinks at once and handed one to your 2 buddies.

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38 J. Money October 2, 2013 at 10:54 am

That is true – a majority I’d imagine *don’t* tip, esp. at open bars, so I probably could have gotten away with it unscathed in reality… but reality and I don’t mix well when put on the spot unfortunately, haha…

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39 Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life September 30, 2013 at 10:50 am

Oh no, I’m not sure what I would’ve done. I may have asked if the bartender could split a ten. I know it was an open bar, but at least he could’ve made change from the tip jar rather than you having to potentially shuffle through it.

Recently my boyfriend and I went to a bakery with a tip jar- not a place you usually tip, but he was feeling generous so he dropped a dollar in the jar. Turns out it was a five. He realized his mistake but was too embarrassed to make the switch, so I did it for him ;)

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40 J. Money October 2, 2013 at 11:51 am

HAH! I need one of you around me at all times it looks like ;)

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41 mollyjade September 30, 2013 at 10:59 am

I eat at a lot of food carts so this happens to me a lot. I always ask for change, and no one ever blinks an eye. That bartender wouldn’t tip $10 for a cheap beer either.

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42 Karen @ Coolfamilylife.com September 30, 2013 at 11:18 am

In the split second, I would have done the same thing as you. It’s okay to be frugal but not cheap, in my opinion! Now that I’ve had time to think about it, I would have asked the bartender to make change or asked for 2 beer. I would not put my hand in a tip jar.

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43 Money Beagle September 30, 2013 at 11:23 am

I think I would have said something to the bartender, let him know you wanted to take care of him but that you only had a $10. He would not be insulted by the fact that you didn’t want to give him the full $10 and probably would have happily reached in to get some change knowing that if he didn’t, there was a good chance he would end up with nothing.

Second option probably would have been no tip. I don’t think there’s any way I would have left the $10.

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44 Michelle September 30, 2013 at 11:34 am

I would have seen if someone had change. A $10 tip on a PBR is a lot!

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45 Erin September 30, 2013 at 11:57 am

Here’s a “tip” for you — when it’s an open bar, you don’t have to tip at all. It’s a social nicety, but you don’t have to. There is already a nice fat gratuity for the bartender figured into the catering bill, and anything that people put in that little tip jar is just gravy. Bartenders will put out that tip jar – even if it’s against their employer’s policy – in the hopes of making a little extra cash. So, if I’m in that situation (no singles in my pocket), I don’t tip — unless I’m drinking up a storm, in which case the bartender gets my larger bill. But you drank one lousy PBR – he cracked a tab on a can, he didn’t make the world’s best martini.

How do I know? Many years in the service industry.

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46 J. Money October 2, 2013 at 12:02 pm

True true… I’d still feel bad not leaving something though :(

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47 Connie @ Savvy With Saving September 30, 2013 at 12:10 pm

I would’ve done the same thing as you. If no one was looking, I probably wouldn’t have left anything (I know that’s terrible but honestly, that’s what I would’ve done). It’s kind of crazy what other people think plays in your decision making.

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48 Retire By 40 September 30, 2013 at 12:16 pm

I’d probably ask my friend if he has a buck. $10 is way too much to tip for 10 seconds of work. I’ll save that for another place.

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49 Nick @ ayoungpro.com September 30, 2013 at 12:21 pm

I definitely would have dropped the $10. It is only $10 after all!

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50 Slackerjo September 30, 2013 at 12:28 pm

People in the service industry are NOT always well compensated for their work so please use your extensive imagination to think what Mister Handsome Why the Hell Did You Not Take a Picture of Him Bartender did with your $10 tip. Perhaps he used it to fund his own case of PBR or maybe this is his job and how he puts food or the table and a roof over his head. Or maybe he’s an art student and your $10 helped fund a purchase of paint or canvas or 1000 bottle caps that he’s going to glue to a mannequin in a modern art thingy that will sell for a million dollars one day. Maybe he dreams of starting a blog. Think of the $10 as an investment in someone’s life.

I have to say I am a little disappointed Mister Money that you did not chat up Mr. Dreamboat Bartender and ask him if this was his full time job or a side hustle.

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51 J. Money October 2, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Haha… what you REALLY meant was, “Why didn’t you get his number for me????”

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52 Kyle @ Debt Free Diaries September 30, 2013 at 12:33 pm

I’ve grown up with family in the service industry (waitstaff, hairdressers, etc.) and have worked in those fields myself. It’s no big deal to ask for change if you don’t have it. Just ask with a smile and they’ll break it for you if they have enough to do so.

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53 Stella September 30, 2013 at 12:47 pm

I HAD to comment on this one! HILARIOUS! I just adore the way you put it out there! I agree with Slackerjo….surprised you didn’t ask him about it being full or side…LOL!!!

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54 J. Money October 2, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Thanks for the kind words :) It’s def. nice to have a place to spew my thoughts when dumb situations come up like this!

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55 Ashley September 30, 2013 at 12:54 pm

I would have done the same thing you had! $10 is better than the SUPER awkwardness of having everyone looking at you while you don’t leave a tip… and it’s way wayyyy better than making change from the jar (or asking the bartender to make change!)

On a related note, one time I messed up my credit card receipt at a bar by writing the total on the tip line… for the $10 drink, I wanted to tip $2, but I wrote $12 on the tip line and ended up paying $22 for a $10 drink. And I can’t even blame it on alcohol; I was 100% sober and bought the drink for a friend’s bday! ughhhh

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56 J. Money October 2, 2013 at 12:10 pm

HAH! That def. sucks.. Thank goodness you didn’t buy a *round* for everyone! Haha…

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57 Kevin Vesga September 30, 2013 at 1:27 pm

I would’ve asked anyone around if they had change for a $10. Even if someone gave you two $5s, that still better than tipping the whole $10.

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58 slug | sunkcostsareirrelevant.com September 30, 2013 at 2:06 pm

I would do the same as you. Might’ve asked the ol’ friend to break the 10.

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59 Debt Blag September 30, 2013 at 2:22 pm

I think the bartender wouldn’t think twice if you’d ask him to make change. Even though the system of tipping is chock full of inconsistencies, I think anyone would understand $10 is a bit much for popping open a PBR.

I might also ask the old friend for a onesie.

But in the end, I can see myself doing the same thing. I might just ask for one more can for the road right after dropping the $10 in though ;)

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60 phil September 30, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Would have stayed longer and had a couple more. At weddings or other open bar events with tip jars, I’ll generally give the bartender a $20 upfront, and you never have to wait for a drink.

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61 J. Money October 2, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Loving that!

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62 Grayson @ Debt Roundup September 30, 2013 at 3:27 pm

I would have asked the bartender for change. There is no way I would pay $10 for PBR. I don’t mind being socially unacceptable. Been there and done that!

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63 Jake @ Ca$h Funny September 30, 2013 at 3:38 pm

I would’ve definitely done what you did, but I wouldn’t have felt good about it at all. I probably would’ve let it ruin the rest of my night. I know I need to get better at letting little amounts of money go.

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64 Jacob | iHeartBudgets September 30, 2013 at 4:32 pm

You said open bar, right? Ummm, tip $10 and grab a 6-pack!!!

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65 Ben @ The Wealth Gospel September 30, 2013 at 5:10 pm

That EXACT thing happened to me, except it was a homeless person. I always have a buck or two to hand out, but one time in Memphis I reached in there and the smallest bill was a $10. After what felt like an hour of awkward nervousness with my wife and the homeless dude staring at me, I just handed it over.

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66 J. Money October 2, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Haha… oh yeah, you gotta drop it in those events. I keep a few dollar bills in my car for that exact same reason when I’m stopped at those lights and they walk on buy asking for help. My rule is that I always have to say “yes” if asked (other wise I’d never give), but you def. get into pickles when your singles are all gone. At least you did a great thing!

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67 J Wolf September 30, 2013 at 5:24 pm

I would have winked while I dropped the $10spot in. Hey… you said he was hot! LOL Seriously, I would have gone back for two more beers considering that I put all of the tip money in the jar at once. …but I would have done it up front like you did. Most bartenders know who was good to them, and it gets you better/faster service when you return.

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68 Wendy September 30, 2013 at 6:57 pm

I would put the $10 in the jar, but stayed long enough to have 1 or 2 more beers. That way I wouldn’t have paid $10 for one PBR!

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69 Kirby @ TheSimpleMoneyBlog September 30, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Difficult, last minute decision! Like many of the others have said, with options like that, there’s really only one to go by. At least you got a good post out of it though, right? That’s the problem with cash only situations these days. It’s not like you didn’t want to tip, it’s just that it didn’t make sense to tip that much! Good thing you at least had some cash, as you wouldn’t want to be forced into the “I don’t have any cash” camp.

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70 mike @ TheStingyDrifter.com September 30, 2013 at 8:21 pm

In such a dilemma, and as a penny-pincher not necessarily wanting to look like one at the said event, I would have dropped the $10 in and simply said, that’s $10 hot-bartender-dude, that’s my tip for the next ten drinks, and then proceeded to empty that beer, and then the next 9, using my tip-credits.

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71 eemusings September 30, 2013 at 9:35 pm

I’m not American, so would probably have not tipped and tried not to feel too guilty about it…

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72 Christine @ ThePursuitofGreen September 30, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Oof embarrassing situation to be stuck in! I think I would have just asked the bartender for change. It’s not like they do much to give you beer anyways and a $10 bill can buy a decent amount of food. Rooting around in the tip jar would’ve been pretty awkward. I have to say I’ve done it before though, not at a bar. I went to a free Yelp event where at the end they pass around the tip jar. It’s a lot more private because not everyone is looking at you and everyone else doesn’t have change too!

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73 J. Money October 2, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Hah! Good for you.

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74 Donna Freedman September 30, 2013 at 10:18 pm

I like the suggestion that you say “I’d really like to tip you — could you give me change for this $10?” That’s what I would have done, and given him $2 instead of $1.
Then again, I’m female and don’t wonder/care if everyone thinks I am Da Man. Gender baggage…it stinks.

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75 Micro September 30, 2013 at 10:28 pm

$10 for a PBR..that is brutal…they didn’t have any good beer? lol, kidding. In that situation though, I probably would have stuck around to grab another beer or two and not tipped on the subsequent trips. This way the tip could have been divided up among the trips to be a little less.

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76 stephanie September 30, 2013 at 10:50 pm

@Micro-ha ha ha; love your comment about good beer. JMoney, I would NOT, and I mean no-way-in-this-life-or-the-next-not, have given the bartender $10 for a PBR. That’s not beer!!! Anyway, you took the high road, and I believe the Karma Goddess, God, or whatever you believe in will pay you back for your (awkward) kindness.
Look at it as a sort of pay-it-forward. Besides, for $10 your hot-bartender-why-is-there-no-picture-posted was most likely very grateful. No telling; you may even be the talk of his post-art party bartending job.
I think you did exactly the right thing and I hope I would do the same.

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77 J. Money October 2, 2013 at 12:18 pm

It’s just a good thing I actually like PBR, haha… or else it would have been much worse ;)

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78 Tushar @ Everything Finance September 30, 2013 at 11:06 pm

I suppose I would have asked the bartender to make change for the tip. If he refused then I wouldn’t have tipped. One time I gave a $20 tip on a $16 meal, purely by error. I didn’t notice that I’d absentmindedly handed the waiter a $20 instead of the $5 that was right on top of it. $5 would have even been a very generous tip.

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79 Crystal September 30, 2013 at 11:59 pm

This actually happened to me before at a work function in 2008. I ended up dropping in the $10 and then made sure to have 5 drinks (well, it was probably more than 5…vodka and cranberry juices are hard to count) over the next 3-4 hours. It ended up being a great night since I actually danced in public (only done when tipsy). :-)

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80 Mike Carlson October 1, 2013 at 12:39 am

I’d probably do what you did. Just sacrifice the $10 to avoid any embarrassment and any issues. But I will make sure it won’t happen again. I’d surely prepare $1 bills every time I go out.

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81 charles@gettingarichlife October 1, 2013 at 4:12 am

I would do the same thing as I would be shamed into putting that money in. Other countries don’t tip, some are actually offended by it.

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82 Skint in the City October 1, 2013 at 6:57 am

Ha, hilarious story! At least the beers were free, right? So if you’d bought your buddy a beer, then those two beers plus tip might have come to $10 anyways? That’s how I like to rationalise my financial mistakes anyways! Justify, justify!

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83 Dear Debt October 1, 2013 at 10:34 am

Haha I love situations like this and am an them constantly (I love Seinfeld!). I probably would have been “that girl” and not tipped, or awkwardly walked away without a beer, all the while being bitter about social norms and conventions.

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84 Nikki October 1, 2013 at 10:36 pm

To be fair, at an event with an open bar, the server is likely being paid a regular hourly without the expectation of tips (since he doesn’t exactly have “sales”). So it’s not that big of a jerk move to not tip in that situation. More like icing on the cake than salary. Especially since it wasn’t a cocktail it’s not that bad to not tip. Really, in all, he pulled a PBR out of a tub and cracked it open. If he did that as fast as he could for an hour he’s making at least $60 in tips per hour. :)

In a situation with an old friend, underdressed, and as generally awkward as that, I would have counted it as good for the evening and stayed for a while. Maybe when I dropped it in I would have made a slightly awkward joke about, “Yeah, I don’t have any change so you’re getting it all at once. Fair?”

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85 J. Money October 2, 2013 at 12:22 pm

What I should do one day is just BE a bartender for a night and see how it all works :) It’s actually on my list of jobs to try out one day – I’d learn a lot!

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86 Bryan October 2, 2013 at 1:34 pm

As a theatre PhD student, this story is very interesting to me on the basis of for whom you’re performing. On the one hand, you’re performing for the bartender who expects some kind of tip for pulling the cap off of the bottle, and on the other hand, you’re performing for the friend whom you haven’t seen in a while and whom you believe to be a standout in the new community you’ve found yourself in. You, having already offended the standards of the community unknowingly (by not dressing up more), are torn in a lot of different ways–and, it seems to me, you want to feel like you belong there as well as show/perform that you belong there (and your belonging-ness is being questioned by all the people staring at you–and the presence of your friend).

I guess my question for you would be: if this scenario were different in terms of location, would you have reacted differently? For example, at an open bar at a PF blogging convention where you are one of the larger fishes in the community, would you have reacted differently? Such an act of largesse might be be looked down upon by other PF bloggers, so I suspect you might have made an effort to make change in the tip jar. Conversely, in the early days of the startup you worked at (where, from what I’ve read of what you’ve written about it, the money was flowing quickly and easily), tipping ten bucks might be showing off or might be a joke (“see how little I care about this ten-spot? I’ll make this back in ten minutes tomorrow!”).

In short, in your story, I think you were trying to appear comfortable in a situation in which you were necessarily uncomfortable for a couple of reasons. To answer your question, if I were really uncomfortable, I would probably have reacted in the same way–but I’d like to think I would have made eye-contact with the bartender (who, while being happy with a $10 tip, certainly would have found it extravagant) and asked, “Do you mind if I make change?”

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87 J. Money October 3, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Very interesting way of looking at this situation! You’re GOOD at this game! Haha… And to answer your question – yes, I would have done the same at a PF blogging event (same predicament in my mind – which is I got caught w/ my pants down and wanted to quickly resolve it in the easiest – most right – way as possible). It was more of an uncomfortable feeling in general than a wanting to look good one, though of course that naturally went through my mind a few times. I feel like the best thing that could have happened was that a) I had been given more time, even just 10 seconds which I would have used to then decipher it was worth asking for change, or b) No one was looking and I could get away w/out tipping that second and then coming back w/ a dollar later. Definitely interesting to think about though in your “performing” story way – I like that :)

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88 Evan October 2, 2013 at 4:30 pm

I would have either then asked for 2 more on the way out OR told the bartender that I’ll catch him next time when I get my second beer

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89 Thadeous October 9, 2013 at 2:30 am

Having been that bartender (minus the girls) I have to say that it’s ok to get change. It happens to everyone. At those kind of events large bills would often end up in the tip jar and we would have to fish them out quickly as they would vanish after someone would “make change”. Honestly though this shouldn’t be a thing, bartenders make change for people all the time so they can tip. You should never have to feel awkward about it.

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90 J. Money October 9, 2013 at 10:39 pm

Those are good words coming from another hottie mc-bartenderson. I shall take them into consideration the next time it occurs :) Which, will probably be next month with my luck.

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91 Lizzy October 9, 2013 at 3:28 pm

umm.. I would have grabbed another 4 PBRs!

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