Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Mexican Hat ©2012 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     Conversing with Sid the bartender caused the memories to come flooding back. The shit all went down on a Saturday night. Paula, our main PM bartender, had her kids that weekend so instead of closing on the floor like usual, I got to tend bar. It was pretty busy. I got some nice tippage, all of which I kept throwing into a vessel we lovingly referred to as the Mexican hat, although I'm pretty sure it was really just a Chinese basket.
     It was a long-ass bar, not circular. We had the service well at one end of it, to-go at the other. In between those, my narrow workspace. When I was facing my barflies, I had a wall behind me. On the other side of that wall was the kitchen. There was a little window in the wall that served as a passway. And there was a swinging door to the kitchen as well, right next to the POS register, my till and that aforementioned tip recepticle, the Mexican hat.
     It was a cool shift, I got some good money. The only thing a little out of the ordinary was that we had a new cook working that night. He stuck his head through my swinging door a few times to ask me stuff. Those brief convos seemed kind of unnecessary but really, I didn't give them much thought.We eventually closed. I stocked and cleaned. I did a checkout and turned in my drawer. Even though I was a hard-core partier in those days, I wasn't that night. I clocked out and went straight home. A couple of hours later, I realized I'd forgotten to transfer the money from the Mexican hat to my pocket. Oh fuck!
     I was off lunch the next day but I got up and went in anyway. I went in at 7:00 AM, when I knew the manager and a couple of cooks would be the first to arrive. I went behind the bar with great trepidation and stared into the Mexican hat. It was empty.
     Well, what can ya do? I don't know exactly how much I lost out on but a very conservative estimate would be a hundred bucks. Fortunately, it was the middle of the month and in no way at the time was it make-or-break money for me or anything. Still, it hella sucked.
     I never found out what happened to that cashish. I strongly suspect that the chatty new cook helped himself to it from the Mexican hat after I'd left the store. Hell, maybe he took it before I left. He's the only person on that night's shift with good bar access for whom I can't confidently vouchsafe their honesty. Looking back, he stuck his head through the bar door a lot that evening. A couple of days after the incident, he consumed a shift meal at my bar and told me an unsolicited sad story about how he and his wife were having problems and their daughter has sickle cell and his car was fucking up.
     That Saturday night was a long time ago. I've worked a lot of Saturday nights since then, including this one just past. Not at my usual night job but at my usual day job; I picked up a closing PM waitshift there. Future episodes of These American Servers'll probably tell more about that. Anyway, a pretty good shift for me, decent tips and no major difficulties. Just before I left the building I asked Sid, that evening's closing bartender, if he'd done OK. He hadn't. In fact, due to a shortage in his till that he had to make up, Sid was walking with a negative twelve dollars. He had a good attitude about it, he laughed a little and said, "Oh well."
     I asked if he had any idea what happened. He didn't know for sure but shared a very plausible theory about how he'd been the victim of Dallas, an affable, overweight, kind of slovenly young co-worker of ours who's a major stoner. I don't know Dallas very well—or if he's guilty or not—but my opinion of him just improved slightly. I previously wouldn't have thought him imbued with the cunning and self-motivation necessary to steal anything.

     Are there any unusual tip jars or suspected shyster-ass motherfuckers where you work?


  1. I never had anyone outright steal my tips from me, but I stopped sharing large parties with a co worker named Craig [real name - I wish I could remember his last name, I would totally OUT him for being a douche]. Everytime we did a large party together he insisted that he was in charge of the money at the end and even when the 15% was tagged on, I always received less than 7 1/2% because he would say "Oh they refused the autograt and didn't pay it all, so here's your 5%" Jerk. I finally caught him one time when the head of the party thanked me afterwards and said "I stuck an extra $40 on top of the automatic 15%, 20 for you and 20 for Craig." When Craig handed me my portion that night it was the usual 5%, and excuse. I said "Nope. I spoke to Mr. Smith. He was thrilled with our service. Now can I have my $24 PLUS the $20 he left ME?" He just stood there doing fish mouth. We never worked another party together again. I flat out refused eventhough the manager wouldn't believe me that he would do that. "Oh Skippy, he is an older, married man with kids and a college degree, he wouldn't rip you off!" I told the manager the only thing missing on Craig's list was I wasn't older or a man, but had the rest of the bases covered and I DON'T lie - but Craig did. I guess he left out that they were also best pals/drinking buddies. Sigh. All these years later and it still fries my chaps. heehee

    Sorry about that. :D

    1. Hi, thx 4 reading and commenting! I h8 it happened but gr8 story, thx 4 sharing. Congrats on Expos clinching division. Good luck til ya face the Cards!

  2. Losing cash is the worst! If I left work with -12 bucks heads would be rolling. Or at least I'd probably cry, lol.
    It's been a long time since a coworker tried to steal from me, and even then it was actually a couple managers doing the thieving.

    1. Hi thx 4 reading and commenting. Hhmmm... sounds like a potential blog post to me, I hope I get 2 check it out someday. Cheers, ____-Joe