So, I've been back at the Beacon for slightly over a month now and I figured it was time for me to catalog some observations since I've been back. I think they fit into three categories: the good, the bad, and the WTF.
- I'm happy to be hanging out with my regulars again. (Except for the one that was an obnoxious drunk last Saturday, got cut off by the owner and decided to walk out without paying or tipping and has yet to apologize to me. Even if you don't remember the details, you know you walked out on your tab and therefore didn't tip because you had to pay the tab the next time you came in. Would it hurt to apologize?) I've also got some new regulars who I really like, too. Including, oddly enough a woman who has to be in her sixties or seventies. We had a really great conversation about cats when she came in one Thursday for lunch and now she comes in every Thursday for lunch. I like that this job enables me to meet and talk to people I would not normally think I'd hit it off with.
- The stories. It's great to be surrounded by stories. I've already heard some good ones. Like a regular who told me that in her one hitchhiking experience, she and her friend were picked up by John Wayne Gacy. Supposedly he even had some of his clown garb on and warned them about hitchhiking. This woman was like, "If I'd been a boy, I would have been dead." It's hard to know if this is actually true because, well... alcohol... but the time period as well as the neighborhood in Chicago is accurate so who knows. Either way, now it is material. Ohhh there is so much more material at a bar than at an office!
- Tipping is not a city in China. People who don't know how to tip are now the bane of my existence again. I am a firm believer that everyone should be required to work in the service industry at some point so they learn how to treat servers. People who don't tip at all are the biggest assholes. Like the other day I had this guy who gave me a dollar more than what cover the cost of his beer. Like it was 4.50 and he gave me 6$. Generally when this occurs, it is implied that the dollar and the change is mine. So I put this in my tip jar. When I walked past the guy again, he snapped at me, "Where is my change!" So I apologized, tried to explain my confusion and gave him the 1.50$ back. He didn't leave me a tip at all. I suppose I was being punished. Ugh. But the people that also irritate me are the people who are really cheap with their tips. It is pretty universal that you tip $1 per drink if you are getting good service (and I am good server, prompt, friendly, etc). If you've been in the service industry, think your bartender rocks or want to be their friend in hopes of a free drink here and there, you tip more than that. Now, I have a few retiree-aged folks who come in, drink a few beers and only leave a buck or two. They are on a limited budget and they are drinking the cheap bottled beer. They are also regulars and very friendly to me, so this rule does not apply. But Mr. and Ms. Twenty and Thirtysomething who are ordering the expensive cocktails and microbrews, you should be tipping more than fifty freakin' cents. Seriously!
- Cha-cha-changes.... I used to have nightmares that I went back to the Beacon and it was this hip, clean, up-to-date yuppie bar with all this food I had to make and didn't understand and a new-fangled computer system and yuppie customers who didn't tip. Well, it's not that bad, but there have been changes at the Beacon. There's a beer garden, which is cool, but kind of screws me because either there is no waitress and I'm running myself ragged going out to take drink orders, making them and taking care of the regular bar. Or there is a waitress and I'm still run ragged making all the drinks but I don't have to carry them outside however, I lose out on the majority of the tips. I can't win. Also there is an expanded menu. I have to cook this food, the majority of it being disgusting meat products, and the people who order food for the most part don't seem to get that I'm making their food, I'm bringing it to them, I'm making their drinks and bringing them to them and I have the rest of the bar to deal with. And then they tip me like they would a waitress.... Ugh.
- To continue in the vein of people who for some reason now seem to think of the Beacon as a restaurant rather than a bar that happens to have food so if you start drinking early and forget to eat dinner you can be accomodated.... Yesterday a women came in with her four and six year old boys. Yes. A woman brought her kids to the bar. Then she proceeded to ask me what we had to drink for kids, while her obnoxious little rugrats (I like kids, don't get me wrong, but when they are being loud and annoying in a place that is supposed to be for adults like R-rate movies or... I don't know... A BAR, I get irritated) screeched for chocolate milk. I had to restrain myself from saying, "Well, I can make a shot that tastes like chocolate milk..." Instead I named off the stuff we use to mix with booze, Coke, 7-Up, Orange Juice.... Of course they proceeded to order food with special demands to appease the kids. Of course it put off my regulars some of whom were there to shout obscenities at the TV when the Sox or Cubs screwed up and vent about their crappy days using colorful language that you can use at a bar because, you know, it's supposed to be for adults. And of course the lady tipped like it was a freaking restaurant, not like I was bartending, cooking, and doing special kid service...
- The crazies. Oh the crazies. Sometimes they amuse, sometimes they irritate, so they just fall in the WTF category. Apparently in addition to Napkin Note Guy, we've collected some new weirdos over that the Beacon such as Creepy Al and his girlfriend. I can't really explain Creepy Al without doing a vocal impression, but his girlfriend came in a couple Saturdays ago while I was slammed and stopped me from what I was doing FIVE times to ask me if I'd seen Al, if I was sure I hadn't seen Al, if I knew who Al was, and even though I reassured her each time. When I wasn't looking, she still absconded into the Beer Garden (which was closed because it closes at midnight and this is indicated by not one, but two closed doors) and Dan O. had to chase after her. She told him that she thought Al might be sitting out there... Never mind that the Beer Garden was closed and IT WAS POURING RAIN! Ah the adventures of Creepy Al and Crazy Chick. But now to update you on Napkin Note Guy. I hadn't seen him in awhile and thought hmm, maybe he did read the blog and is staying away. But he's turned up again and he won't ever read the blog because he doesn't know how to use a computer apparently. Also, for those of you who were like, oh maybe he's not that creepy, I've collected stories from other bartenders and regulars about him. Including about how one regular smashed his camera after he took a picture of him at the urinal.... And apparently he's been banned from a couple other bars because the Napkin Notes creep people out. The latest Napkin Note however, is just nonsensical.
No Difference- Today- Now - 12 Midnight
Steff- Today- Toninght- I Saiad- Hello- To Yoou--
And the last word is debatable. Most think it says So What, but there is some question as to whether it says Soul Mate. Also 12 Midnight is crossed out and kind of looks like Mitten and kind of looks like Midkiskf
So yeah, that's the adventures of the Beacon this month. Sometimes insane, sometimes annoying, but mostly I'm still enjoying the ride, happy to be among old friends and observing all kinds of craziness!