A bartender’s livelihood is dependant mostly on TIPS, so we’ll play the role we have to to make our money. There are those rare occasions however when we’ll encounter a customer so unpleasant, we decide to surrender a chance for a TIP just to let that customer have it.
**Beware of the bartender who becomes fed up.**
I’ve had the occasional belligerent customer. Some get that way after a few drinks, but most are just jerks who like to pick on those they perceive to be beneath them. Whether it’s by treating that bartender like a servant, a sex object, being racist or otherwise disrespectful, those jerks feel the more they tip, the more permission they have to act that way. To their surprise, I’ve literally handed customers back their tip before giving them a piece of my mind and/or cutting them off and telling them they have to go. My not accepting the tip meant they couldn’t justify their behavior. I needed to send the message that you can’t pay to treat me any kind of way.
Most people that behave that way aren’t used to others challenging them, and operate under the delusion that they can throw money at any negative situation to make it okay. But it’s emotionally draining to be berated, and therefore if I don’t make a stand against it, I’ll spend the rest of my shift unfocused, trying to shake off the feeling of being mistreated and humiliated. By standing up for myself, I regain my power.
I liken those situations to dealing with an abusive mate in a romantic relationship. (Either mentally, physically, or emotionally,) abusive significant others often go back and forth between salty then sweet to make up for their misbehavior. At some point though, apologies and gifts no longer suffice. It’s not enough to be rewarded in the end for having to put up with their offenses, especially when they get used to that routine.
That kind of treatment chips away at you, taking something that can’t be replaced monetarily and leaving you unnecessarily exhausted, and most likely unable to concentrate on anything else or function properly. The more it happens, the less capable you feel. There’s power in speaking your peace and standing your ground.
Akin to the bar world, relationships have ups and downs, high periods and lulls. But the low periods should not include being made to feel bad about yourself or incompetent. And the highs points should be true excitement not just the absence of drama. What’s your barometer? When do you decide when things have gone too far?