Mickey Finn is so over you. (Photo: Thinkstock)
Mickey Finn began his bartending career as a young man. He loved booze, he loved the ladies, and he loved the money. But the party got away from him, and after thousands of drunken nights on both sides of the bar, he sobered up. Well into middle age at this point, he still works in New York City more nights than not, a veteran, a grinder, a mercenary. Mr. Finn does not hate people. Quite the opposite. And while he is usually cranky, he isn’t bitter. But darling, he is over this job.
Rich people born into fortunes that predate them by generations have a tendency to be gracious, but the guests who always leave me aghast with the level of their entitlement are of humbler origins. Yes, I’m talking about the new money of New York City — the ones who tend to behave like spoiled children with a few drinks and the ability to pay the bar tab.
Of course you want another (Photo: Thinkstock)
A Sultan Who Treats the Staff Like Slaves
One night, we hosted a large group of wealthy sultans.
When you’re this rich, any employee within reach is a slave. My feelings were not hurt by their treatment of me. They paid for the privilege. But after one individual went to the bathroom, he summoned a staff member to the men’s room. Seems the Western accoutrements of our bathroom did not meet his standards of cleanliness. He demanded spring water — you read that right, spring water — and linen napkins so his ablutions could be completed satisfactorily, thereby setting a high water mark (ahem) for the most profoundly entitled person the place had ever seen.
The Sloppy Drunk
We used to have a neighbor, a lady on the younger side of middle age, who would quietly sip rosé at the bar. Nothing much distinguished her, save the mild failing — and I confess to contributing to this — of being overserved.
Early one Sunday evening, the lady took a barstool. She was my only customer. She surprised me by ordering a martini, which I set about making, with an olive. Five minutes later, our neighbor was on the floor. She hadn’t toppled from her stool (a common enough occurrence, alas), but rather she had chosen to realign herself, and to remain seated, on the tiles. One martini deep, and she was Linda Blair from “The Exorcist,” utterly blasted, incoherent, and belligerent, except she couldn’t fit her mouth around the curse words she was shouting.
No one likes a sloppy drunk (Photo: Thinkstock)
Using atrocious judgment, I walked her home instead. She didn’t know what street she lived on. Then, she couldn’t find her building.
Finally settling on the edifice of one residence, a key from the jangle she handed me opened the front door. I never heard another word about it.
Overfamiliarity is characteristic of entitlement. That lady was something of a regular there, so she felt like it was OK to lose her mind and act possessed but not suffer any consequences. You know what? She was right.
A Titan of Industry With Off-Menu Demands
A powerhouse in the business community shambles through the dining room attired like a candidate for somebody’s worst-dressed list, oblivious to all but his immediate whims. Plopping himself at a table, he ordered a hamburger. Except there wasn’t a hamburger on our menu. Unfazed, this captain of industry demanded his meat on a bun. It was then incumbent upon our sterling staff to make that happen. Naturally, the chef went into orbit, but being the accommodating and resourceful type, he chopped some filet mignon, some fat, and some gristle to make it stick together, and out it went to the table of Mr. Business. Well done, of course.
Made to order…literally (Photo: Thinkstock)
A few nights later, the same scenario unfolded. Only this time, we were sold out of steaks. We dispatched a busboy to the diner around the corner, for an extra-rare hamburger to go. Through the back door, our busboy returned, onto the grill the burger went.