Monday, April 16, 2007

Tipping Bartenders At Weddings (and Other Functions)

I went to a Batz Mitzvah over the weekend and the party was at a country club. I’m about to say something a little judgmental about my relatives, and for the break in agreed protocol, for the record I did say this directly to them. I got into a discussion with some relatives about tipping bartenders at these kinds of “free bar” functions. I was tipping, in fact when one bar tender took the time to make me a drink to a bit more specification, I tipped her $2. There was no “tip jar” on the table. When I asked about that the woman said “we’re not allowed to have it on the table but we can accept tips.” I took this to mean the club probably has some kind of rule that they think a tip jar makes them look cheap. However I also wondered if that meant they got a better hourly wage.

In any case I was tipping and to my surprise I found that some of my relatives (the older ones) not only didn’t tip but explicitedly said “you don’t tip at these kind of events.” I thought “free drinks” meant you should have even more reason to tip?

Also considering this was a Batz Mitzvah, not a wedding, half the guests weren’t legal drinking age anyway. I bet the bartenders made less than $15 in tips the whole night (including my $4). But then again maybe they were being paid between $7-10 an hour to serve when an actual bartender tends to make half-wages and then the rest in tips. (It was probably a five to six hour shift).

So I got into a discussion with my cousin who’s my age, were our relatives simply being bourgeoisie or were we simply over-identifying with the proletariat in this case?

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