I found a ten and a five in one of my overcoats. Was I thrilled. Of course, instead of buying brown rice for the month, I hit a bar.
Why not, I thought, it’s a beautiful day and wasn’t finding money a gift? That’s all it took to get me to float over to a little bistro on Third for a glass of white. I switch from red after Memorial Day. I tell myself it’s because Chianti is too heavy in the heat, but there’s also all that white to consider. The last thing you want is a stain on those seasonal culottes.
It’s a typical Sunday in Manhattan with everyone and their mother out having brunch…cafe tables are spilling over onto the sidewalk…carriages lined up like baby limousines. I take it all in, making mental notes after getting comfy at the packed bar.
I order Chardonnay in a chilled glass from a pretty red-headed barmaid. I’m cheerful, still in finding money mode, when I compliment her on her pixie haircut. She does a full turn without me asking, so I can see the back.
I’m little hungry, but know my fifteen dollars wasn’t covering snacks, but then notice a half dozen tumblers on the service bar filled with Peanut M&Ms.
Hmm, maybe they put them out later since it’s still only a little past 2…but thought, how great it would be to have some now.
I wave to Betty, I’ll call her, who’s busy chatting up a guy belting back beer like he’s at a ballgame. She lopes over after first giving me the old, hold on…I’ll be right there, gesture.
I was a girl once, I remember how hormones have the last say, so I wait and wait and wait…AND WAIT…
finally getting her ear.
“Hey, do you think I can have a few M&Ms…they’re waving at me from across the bar.”Without as much as a beat Betty says, “Nope, they’re for the staff,” making her way back to beerman, leaving curtness in her wake.
Not to be easily dismissed where candy is concerned, I say loudly, “Wait a minute, you won’t even give me a few?”
She shrugged like I was asking for a free steak.
Okay…number one…what happened to, let’s make the customer happy? I see that went out with bar etiquette she clearly doesn’t practice, and I’m so sorry Betty I don’t come with a penis with a head on it, so to speak.
Now I may not be a 30 year-old guy with biceps like beach balls, but I’m well dressed with my vintage Prada purse perched on the bar as proof…
I tip there Red, and you don’t even have to do much (and always more than 20 %).
More angry about my good mood passing then being denied cheap candy, I drain my drink and ask for a check.
Dammit…my buzz, that I was so enjoying, has headed south.
“Come again soon,” Betty croons delivering my check like a singing telegram. Her charm was somewhat late.
Well, the sum was 10.89…I left the ten and 89 cents, 32 of it in pennies, and went my merry way.
A first folks. I tip everybody, even the surly waiter who served me moldy pound cake. If someone isn’t nice I tell myself, you don’t know their story Susannah. They could be going through a hard time, so let’s overcome wanting to kill and just be generous.
I knew her story right out of the gate. That little perky pirouette she did when I first came in was a helluva intro, I just didn’t know it yet.
Maybe my lack of largesse was childish, but I feel justified letting her know I wasn’t thrilled with the service.
And you know what?
That’s the tip I should have given her.