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Bartender says customer tried to get drink for free after ordering it wrong

'The way you state the obvious so clearly and decisively.'


Phil West


Posted on May 2, 2023

A bartender went to TikTok to call out a customer they say ordered a drink incorrectly and insisted should keep the drink for free.

The video comes from creator Michelle Charlotte Bartender, a.k.a. Michelle Kimball, a Charlotte, N.C.-based bartender who the Charlotte Observer declared “Charlotte’s TikTok bartender.” In this video, which has garnered an 4 million-plus views since debuting on TikTok April 24, she depicts both herself and a customer having an exchange over a drink order that didn’t meet the customer’s expectations.

It starts with the customer ordering a tequila and Sprite and the bartender saying, “That’ll be $5” and asking, “Do you want me to leave [the tab] open or close it out?”

As the customer, the TikToker takes a sip of the drink, makes a face, and says, “Is this Don Julio?” referring to the tequila brand.

“No, that is house tequila,” the bartender clarifies.

“Well can you make it Don Julio?” the customer asks. “Because I don’t drink the cheap stuff.”

@michellebellexo When it’s busy I usually don’t ask if they have a preference, but ordering generically like saying “vodka soda” typically means you want house (the cheapest) vodka. If you want grey goose you have to say “grey goose and soda” #orderingdrinks #bartender #serviceindustry ♬ original sound – Michelle Charlotte Bartender

“Yeah, I can, but for future reference, you have to specify the liquor, like saying Don Julio and Sprite instead of tequila and Sprite,” Kimball responds as the bartender. “Because if you just say tequila and sprite, I’m gonna assume you want house.”

The bartender then asks for clarity.

“You do want me to throw this drink away and make you a Don Julio and Sprite?”

“I do want a Don Julio and Sprite, but if you’re just gonna throw that one away, you can give it back to me. I’ll drink it,” the customer says.

The bartender then notes, “But if I get this back to you, I’m gonna have to charge you for it.”

“No,” the customer says. “I don’t want to pay for it because it’s not what I want. But I’ll drink it if you’re just gonna throw it out.”

“Okay,” the bartender says, “so I can either give this drink back to you and charge you for it or I can throw it away and take it off your tab. It’s up to you.”

“That doesn’t make any sense,” the customer exclaims. “Why would you not just let me drink it instead of pouring it down the drain?”

That’s when the bartender snaps back.

“We are not going to encourage people to order the wrong thing on purpose just to get free stuff,” they say.

The caption accompanying the video read, “When it’s busy, I usually don’t ask if they have a preference, but ordering generically, like saying ‘vodka soda,’ typically means you want house (the cheapest) vodka. If you want Grey Goose, you have to say ‘Grey Goose and soda.’”

This, combined with a commenter asking the creator why she didn’t just ask the customer what she wanted, indicates this happened IRL and has now been recreated for the greater TikTok audience’s edification. Kimball also doesn’t seem to be alone in her struggles as a bartender as many have documented less-than-ideal encounters they’ve had with customers.

“I usually ask if they have a preference but this chick was ordering when it was slammed and she was with 3 other girls behind a row of people,” the creator says in response to one commenter.  

Commenters reacted with respect for the bartender and disdain for the customer.

“‘I don’t drink the cheap stuff,’ unless it’s free, lol,” one commenter says, quoting the customer.

“I love the last sentence, [particularly], the way you state the obvious so clearly and decisively,” another commenter remarks in response to the video.

One commenter pointed out that there could be something else done with the discarded drink, revealing, “As a bartender, I just drink those.”

But the creator revealed she has certain standards, noting the customer had already taken a sip of the beverage.

The Daily Dot has reached out to the creator via email.

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*First Published: May 2, 2023, 6:03 pm CDT