Editorial Notebook

Editor inconvenienced by Canadian tendencies

When I was in Canada over Spring Break, some friends and I decided to take advantage of the 18+ drinking age and go on a pub crawl. For the uninitiated, a pub crawl is an event where you buy a ticket that covers a free drink and cover fee for a few different clubs, with the caveat being that you only stay in each bar for about an hour. Our crawl cost $29 Canadian Dollars and went to a bar and three clubs. Throughout the entire event, one thing prevented us from having a good time: servers being unreasonable.

We got to the first bar a bit late, and had a bit of trouble finding the pub crawl guides. When we finally got to them, they gave us a free drink and sent us on our way to find a table in the already crowded bar. Then, when we ordered the signature deal, 25 shots for 25 CAD, the bartender looked at our money, looked at us, and turned away to serve some other customer. Apparently, since we didn’t include a tip with our initial purchase, we were deemed unservable. In our American eyes, this was highway robbery.

Maybe this is the case back home, we wouldn’t know; only one of my friends was over 21 and she doesn’t go out to bars. Either way, the act of turning away a paying customer due to them not tipping before receiving any actual service is baffling to me. Tips should be reflective of a job well done; when the customer feels like the server did the best they could and provided at least satisfactory service. I won’t say to reserve tips for over-the-top service, as servers aren’t paid enough to go without tips (a whole problem by itself which needs addressing). But I am saying that servers should not expect a tip before the service is given in the first place.

I assumed this would be an isolated incident, but it happened to at least one of my friends at every bar we visited to. At one of them, the bartender flat out took the drink back, and left my friend fuming. At the fourth bar, we just gave up and didn’t order anything. I came home from this experience jaded and apprehensive about going to bars here once I turn 21.

The only hypotheses I have about the bad Canadian service is due to the pub crawl itself. Maybe the bartenders were fed up with the influx of American tourists and decided to do whatever they wanted to them. But even that, while understandable, isn’t a good thing to do when you’re in the service industry. Something has to change.