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Bartender warns customers of sneaky methods servers use for their own financial gain

Kit Roberts

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| Last updated 

Bartender warns customers of sneaky methods servers use for their own financial gain

Featured Image Credit: TikTok/michellebellexo

A bartender from North Carolina has revealed the ways she has seen bar staff con customers and employers over the years.

Michelle Kimball has spent 15 years behind bars, that's serving drinks not in jail, and over the years has seen the ways her colleagues have taken advantage.

Let's just say people have been skinning more off the top than just excess beer foam.

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The 35-year-old took to TikTok to explain the myriad tricks and cons some more unscrupulous members of the profession have used.

It's worth saying that most bartenders are just trying to get through their shift.

All the same, here are some things which Michelle thinks that customers should watch for when out and about.

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And to be clear, this is to be used as an instructional tool to watch out for these, not inspiration!

The first is basically swapping out a fancier liquor for the house liquor when it's in a mixer.

Michelle shared some horror stories from over the years. Credit: TikTok / mcihellebellexo
Michelle shared some horror stories from over the years. Credit: TikTok / mcihellebellexo

She said: "Say you order a Tito's and soda. Tito's and soda would be $8, normally. The bartender goes over - and this is why you should watch your bartender make your drinks - they pour house vodka and soda.

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"They give it to you, they say it's gonna be $8 - when house vodka is only $5.

"So then you give them $10 cash, say. They go ring in house vodka, and they get to keep $5 instead of $2."

One way round this is to just order house liquor when you have a mixer. Sure, you can tell the difference between say a spiced rum and a white rum, but no-one is finely-tuned enough to tell the difference between one kind of spiced rum and another when it's drowned in coke.

There are lots of ways bar staff can take money. Credit: TikTok / michellebellexo
There are lots of ways bar staff can take money. Credit: TikTok / michellebellexo
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Another scam is to simply pour a beer on draught and then pocket the money. This is because while bottles are easy tom count, inventory on draught is harder to track, so in a busy bar you could pour a beer and then not ring it in.

A third hustle is to lie about customers walking out on a tab.


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Bars and restaurants are businesses which run on extremely tight margins, and bartenders as tipped staff can be paid as little as $2.13 per hour as long as they make minimum wage after tips.

With that in mind, it's worth being cautious and keeping an eye out.

All the same you should also remember that the vast majority of bartenders are honest people who are just trying to make ends meet in a stressful, antisocial, and badly paid job.

Topics: News, US News, Food and Drink, Business, Crime

Kit Roberts
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