Bar Tab, Bartender Tips
(Photo by Credit: Straight 8 Photography)

Ways That Bartenders and Waitresses Can Cheat You on Your Bar Tab

So, you like to party and have a good time. And you’re not shy about spending a few bucks to do so. You’re not the typical high roller who is bar savvy, just a working stiff trying to relax and enjoy the scene on the weekend. But nobody likes to play the fool and get ripped off!

Unlike an MMA fighter, knifemaker or any other skill that has been featured in Skillset, the art of the bar thief is an unfortunate skillset. Maybe I can help you to combat these thieves with a little advice from ol’ Frankie C.

The Bar Scene and Your Bar Tab

The bar scene is a place where unsuspecting people go to have fun and spend a few bucks to enjoy themselves. However, of course, booze can make you careless. The most dangerous joints are the most popular ones, where the action is hot and heavy and the staff does not have to worry about treating the regulars fairly. They’re lined up 50 deep at the front door, and no one gives a damn if you ever come back! It’s a thief’s paradise come true.

Whether the crook is the bartender, cocktail waitress or the friendly customer sitting next to you, they may all want to get into your pocket. When you’re half in the bag and springing for drinks, it’s amazing how popular you are all of a sudden. Take it from me, you are most likely getting conned. 

Here are a few ways it’s done, so listen up and protect yourself!

Paying With Cash

Let’s say the bartender takes your order, delivers the drinks and takes your money. Nothing shady about that, right? Well, you need to pay attention, kid! A dishonest barkeep will take $20 from your stack of loot but only bring you back change for $10. He does not count out the bills in front of you! He brings back the change and puts all the bills in a pile next to your drink. All you see is a stack of green with singles on top. You are drunk, dumb and happy as he walks away with the $10 that should be going back into your wallet. 

Paying With Credit Card

“But Frankie, I don’t pay with cash. I run a bar tab with my credit card.” Well, look at you! There’s no way you could ever get ripped off, huh? Trust me, this is the perfect time for the bartender to make up the loss to the cash register that he has shorted. I’ve seen this a thousand times. The asshole bartender adds the free drinks he has been feeding a pretty lady all night to your tab in the hopes of scoring with her, so that the inventory-sales-to-product-used ratio will match up. He gets lucky, and you get taken! Make sure you read your bar bill!

The Waitresses

Believe you me, the waitresses aren’t all saints either! Most of the time, they will prey on the guy who has a lady with him. No one wants to look like a cheapskate in front of a broad. Here are a few examples: She pays the bartender $14 for the round, but she charges you $18 — a quick four bucks in her pocket. More commonly, she may hold the drink tray over your seated eyesight, so you have to fumble around, feeling for the change that you cannot see. Don’t get all your money back? Not her problem. I’ve also seen big shots that have been stupid enough to say on previous deliveries, “Keep the singles, just give me the big bills.” Well, well, well … can you guess what will happen next time? The $5 bill of the change will become five singles! 

Keep Your Eyes on Your Bar Tab

Bottom line, there are thieves in every line of work. If you are dumb enough to get so hammered that you become a target for these scumbags, then you’re part of the problem. Have fun, but trust no one. You might forget about your money, but believe me, others won’t!

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