How to Survive as an Artist – 10

The Beer House
My First Negative Experience

The Barman

Do you remembers the barman I hired?, the one that I had encountered in the Tourist Trap, the one I angrily told he should be a slave all his life, my first challenge in the Beer House had his fingerprints all over it.

The Restaurant was doing well, the food was attracting more and more Bridgetown office workers, the reggae music was attracting workers who lived near Town and did not rely on the buses for transport, or they owned their own vehicles Bridgetown in those days was a ghost town at night, but I kept the restaurant opened until 11 pm mainly as a bar with good rhythmic reggae music; some of my old school friends started to become regular afternoon and evening customers.

One school friend who was now a practicing lawyer was causing me some serious concern; he would visit the restaurant before going to the office in the mornings, purchase a bottle of rum, have a couple drinks from it and returned in the afternoon to continue drinking from the bottle; he would continue to perform the ritual until the bottle was finished.

It was my daily routine to have lunch in the restaurant and then leave for the workshop. Collect craft purchases or spend some time in one of the retail outlets. One day after lunch a friend told me he thought the barman was feeding his family from the restaurant daily.

A plan was hatched to try to catch the cheater in action. I wore a beard for years going back k to my college days. The beard would be shaved and was always handsomely trimmed. None of the six staff members knew me before I left Barbados and none of the had ever seen me without a beard; It was a painful emotional experience, but the beard was trimmed for the first time in over five years.

One of my friends was invited for lunch and was to remain with me for the better part of the afternoon; The plan was m friend was to undertake all the ordering; because my voice would be familiar to the staff. Lunch was ordered and after lunch we sat, listened to music and ordered some banks beers.

The three family members entered, were served lunch and drinks and after exchanging friendly words with the barman left without being offered a bill or being asked for a bill; This would only mean that both waitresses knew of the arrangement.

We had had a few beers and I did not wish to be intoxicated, I decided it was time to let y voice be heard, so I ordered the last two beers. “I know that voice, Mr Devonish?”

“Yes it is Mr Devonish”

“Oh OMG you saw everything”

After work, I had a heart-to-heart talk with the barman; he was a good barman and interacted well with the customers; I was not interested in how long the practice was going on for ; I asked him to use his conscience and pay the restaurant what he thought was an appropriate figure.

This led to another eye-opener; he suggested a figure and I did not question it. the arrangement was in exchange for him keeping his job.

“Please do not take it from my wages; I’ll pay from my tips.

“This is a small restaurant and most of our customers are office workers, I can’t imagine they are big tippers”.

“Sometime when guys are drinking at the bar, they will offer to buy me a drink; you see that bottle up there, that is soda water and angostura bitters, when they buy me a drink, I drink that and charged them for a gin or a scotch, and take the money from the cash register. That incidentally is every barman s secret, the take home pay could be larger than the tips.

“If I drank every drink that was offered I will be drunk every day”

The system worked, the money was paid back, the barman kept his job and future family lunches were financed from his tips and money for drinks offered.

Soon Come

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8 comments on “How to Survive as an Artist – 10

I literally had NO IDEA that bartenders would keep the money from offered drinks. Thats so smart, and makes SO MUCH sense!! Thanks for this post, it was well written and fun to read. I wonder if ALL bartenders know this trick? I hope you continue to learn these inside tricks

As the owner of the bar I could not really complain,  I just hoped he bought his own bitters, but that is small, plus if he got drunk his work would suffer, I treated it the same way as a tip, with the billing system it is better to alert the business owner as the separation process could be problematic.There should be a mutual agreement, especially if the customer is paying by credit card.Thanks for reading. 

Wow, a writer could not have scripted a better scenario even had they researched the condition to first even consider this story! The barman, I would have never suspected this story to take the direction in which it did.
Truly it did take some time to fine out all the details of what was brought to your attentions, only to cause more financial lost in the process. However, as I read, your demeanor was one of calm during the entire process, one that many other business owners would have pushed to the back burner.
I found that knowing what actually was going on; you wanted to get to the truth in your time, never pressing to the “why”, only to record the happenings and fill gaps, if any, for confronting the barman.
If I had not had an intro of sorts to the page, I would not have believed that these events were actually occurring.
Brilliantly played out from start to finish! Never jumping to conclusion for the thief to stop but to understand, see and correct.
Great work!

Thanks for your comments; it’s amazing the tricks workers get up to. That is why some big businesses allow for this kind of behaviour in their budget, for small business the losses can be very hurtful to to the businesses.

WOW! well structured. though funny.
I’m just imagining how you would look like after taking a shave. lol, it sounded funny.
at least you can change your out look but believe me, your voice wouldn’t be denied from
honestly, i love this story.
it’s really an emotional experience, though all blames should be centered on you, yea i guess.

nice one dear.

Thanks for your comments, the reason I sat with a friend was to allow him to make all orders and do the talking. the last order was made by me, thus enabling the discovery. None of the staff knew me prior to the beard, so it was easy to stage the disguise. I don’t understand your last sentence; there have to be some element of trust. Only yesterday I sat and listened to stories about a member of staff stealing from her employer at a supermarket.

Awesome job on handling well this situation. I laughed bit about the beard part so you pretty much went undercover with a different look, even tho you said it was a bit emotional for you man sticking with a certain look for 5 years who wouldn’t cry. But I am glad you solve this and didn’t react to him with anger.

Thank you for visiting, it was a traumatic experience, The most emotionally disturbed person was the waitress, who was undoubtedly one of the most honest persons I have ever met. she was upset that she did not confide in me, but I found out later that  she did warn the Barman several times about putting a stop to his cheating.

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