The Barkeeps Keeper

Illustration by Bob AulI've been watching you pour drinks for weeks now, and I really admire the way you substitute cheap-ass well hooch for top-price name-brand booze. The other night, I watched you pour supermarket vodka for Ketel One—chatting up the martini crowd amiably, spinning frosty glasses in the warm air and then pouring out the icy rotgut. You're amazing! And the way you overcharge the drunks—brilliant! It's as if you're your own private prohibition campaign, slowly raising the price of drinks until people are paying $20 for a shot of imitation Jack (what is that stuff, anyhow—Olde Ralphs Private Selection?!).

What you don't know is that I'm adding it all up, making an exact accounting of how much you overcharge and whom every night I'm in. (You might remember me: I'm the customer who appeared to be drunk but caught you trying to give me change for $10 when I gave you $20—"honest mistake" my ass). I'm also tracking how much money goes directly into your pocket instead of the till. Your boss? She'll love that.

But I'm feeling generous, drunk on the holiday spirit. So I'll tell you what: you set up a tip jar and post a note promising to give all tips through Jan. 1 to the Orange County charity of your choice—I'm partial to Catholic Worker in Santa Ana, but any high-profile organization will do. When you get a letter from that organization thanking you for the $500 (no less) that you and your patrons donated to the poor, I'll burn my notes. Otherwise, expect a visit from the ABC, the police and your boss soon after Jan. 1. I'm watching.

Send anonymous thanks, confessions or accusations—changing or deleting the names of the guilty and innocent—to "Hey, You!" c/oOC Weekly, P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627-0247, or e-mail us at


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