Last Thursday, Kendall Jenner attended A$AP Twelvyy’s album release party at Brooklyn bar Baby’s All Right. Soon after, she fell under serious media scrutiny when the bar posted a picture of her receipt to their Instagram account. The picture showed Kendall’s signature on a $24 bill with no tip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. And people were pissed.
Turns out, the “joke” was on the bar, after Jenner tweeted that she had indeed left a tip, it was just in cash.
Some were quick to point out that she should’ve written “Cash” on the tip line, but, I mean, who does that?
Nevertheless, Page Six reports that on Tuesday, the bar claimed that Kendall was lying about having tipped in cash by posting a now-deleted Insta pic quoting Friedrich Nietzsche, with the caption, “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.’ – Nietzsche #nocashtip.” Today, the bar posted this to their Insta:
This isn’t the first time that Kendall is accused of mistreating staff members. According to a 2014 article by Page Six, Kendall had dinner with Hailey Baldwin at The Mercer Kitchen in SoHo. She was 18 at the time, and when the restaurant refused to serve her alcohol, she reportedly got up without paying for the $60 worth of food she and Hailey had already been consuming.
A witness told Page Six that a waitress had to chase the celebs down the street to make sure they paid their bill, but apparently, “Kendall took a couple of $20 bills out of her wallet, threw them at the server and walked away, not even counting if it was enough or if it included tip.” Said waitress, who happened to be former MTV Skins actress Blaine Morris, tweeted, “That horrible moment you chase a Kardashian down the street because she forgot to pay her bill to be thrown money in your face.”
Reportedly, a rep for Hailey Baldwin denied the story, and said, “They thought everything was paid for. Kendall was polite and asked ‘Does this cover it?’ They didn’t run.” Kendall actually threatened to sue the waitress for the made-up story, and her lawyer made it clear that it had been a mistake, that the waitress had gone up to them outside, and that they apologetically paid the $33 they owed on their tab, plus a $7 tip.
Last week's incident is far from what happened in 2014. Kendall did in fact pay her bill, but whether or not she actually tipped in cash is up in the air. It's her word against the bar's, but one thing's for sure —people have mixed feelings. Some have said that tipping is 100 percent optional, and that it should depend on quality of service. It's not mandatory. If it was, it would be included, and in many restaurants, it is.
If Kendall did withhold a tip, some are arguing that perhaps it was because the service at Baby’s All Right was just bad. Maybe her bartender was a creep. Maybe they took too long to serve her. Maybe she wasn’t getting the star treatment she’s probably used to getting. Regardless, none of us were there, and none of us know what actually happened.
On the other hand, tipping has become ingrained in American culture. Even when it’s not “mandatory,” it kind of is. You’re expected to tip, and when you don’t, it makes you look kinda sh*tty. The whole custom of tipping started to make the actual tippers look good. According to The New York Times, the custom originated in the feudal homes of aristocratic Europe. In the 19th century, Americans returning home from traveling to Europe brought back the custom to show just how bougie they were, knowing the “rules of Europe, and all that.
The Times reports that an “anti-tipping” movement arose towards the end of the century, when the practice began being seen as “undemocratic and un-American, arguing that employers, not customers, should pay their workers.” But actual restaurant owners were into it, because it would allow them to pay their employees less, particularly the African American freed-slaves that they resented having to pay at all.
As of 2015, 53 percent of tipped workers in the state of New York are minorities. 21 percent live at or below the poverty line, 70 percent are women, and 40 percent of them are mothers. Plus, the Times points out that they’re not working at fancy restaurants or hotels, but rather, fast-casual places like Applebee's and IHOP.
Furthermore, bartending isn’t the most lucrative career option out there. It really all depends on where the bartender is working. Many claim that bartending is supposed to be one of the jobs where workers benefit the most from tips, with a median hourly tip sum of $8.30, and a median hourly salary of $15. According to CNN Money, bartenders (on average) get 62 percent of their income from tips.
There are bartenders that make way, way more than that, but that also depends on skill level and experience. One New York City bartender told HuffPost in 2013 that she made $96,000 one year, working at the bar of a hotel where the starting wage was $26 an hour, not including cash tips, holiday pay, overtime, and insurance.
Nevertheless, the bartending training company Mixology Wine points out that it could also really depend on the night. A shift at a bustling Irish pub could earn you $70 in tips a night on a Monday, but $400 in tips on a Saturday. If a bartender is working a private party, the owners could pay them about $30 an hour with a $50 tip at the end, but they’re discouraged from leaving out a tip jar. Some bars require bartenders to split their tips amongst the staff, so that could seriously decrease the amount they’re getting at the end of the night.
Mixology Wine specifies that a starting bartender should be making about $230 a night (or $23 per hour for a full 10-hour shift). For someone working five nights a week, they should be able to earn about $1,150 per week, which is roughly the same as an entry-level position.
If Kendall didn’t tip her bartender on her card, it might have been because she thought that tipping in cash would be better. That way, the bartender can keep it all to themselves. Maybe she thought that tipping on her card would mean that the tip would go into a separate fund that the entire staff splits and sees reflected in their paychecks. That, too, is common practice. However, there is no way to prove that she tipped in cash other than just her word, or rather, her Tweet.
Was it unprofessional for the staff at Baby’s All Right to blast her? Maybe. People on Instagram sure seem to think so, and they’re saying that “You just don’t do that to customers.” Another commenter said that it doesn’t matter that it was Kendall Jenner. “It’s just plain tacky and irresponsible,” they wrote.
So, who wins? If the bar is sticking to its story, they do, because at the end of the day, Kendall looks bad. But you can’t not ask yourself if they’re the ones who end up looking sloppy for blasting her in public in the first place. Smells like publicity, but then again, doesn’t everything?
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