Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Black People Don't Tip 2: But We DO Smile

This post comes from Gene of He was in Vegas recently and ate at the Hooters Casino that was the inspiration behind my Black People Don't Tip-post. Did he have the same experience? Let's get it!...


Early last week this overwhelming craving for some buffalo wings came over me. And I mean STRONG. I wanted some of them boneless joints they have at pretty much every chain restaurant dipped in the hot sauce with some blue cheese dressing. But I knew I’d be headed to Vegas later in the week for the National Association of Black Journalists convention and that I should be a bit conservative about eating out until then.

By lunchtime Thursday, the craving hadn’t subsided. And while I wanted some wings from Pizza Hut specifically, I felt like it would be wack of me to eat something in Vegas that I could eat back home in Phoenix. So I dragged my roommates – UNC alums Jason Lucas and Brandon Parker – with me to the infamous Hooters casino.

(Yes, we have Hooterses – or is it Hootersi? – in Phoenix, but we don’t have a Hooters casino, man?!)

Now the last time I was in Vegas, was during Super Bowl XL (shot out to UNC alum Willie Parker) – the same weekend the Hooters casino opened. But I was with my moms. So I scrapped the idea of asking her to join me to go see Hooters debut their … well, … hooters. We just ate at those all you can eat buffets you eat at with your moms.

But this time, with my boys and my craving, there was nothing stopping me. So we took the Monorail southbound to the most sinful casino in Sin City.

We almost immediately noticed how regla (not, regular … but regla) the casino was. It was like they said, “You ain’t here for the d├ęcor anyway, so why try?!” I swear that the rooms overlooking the pool looked like what a dirty, crappy frat house would look like if it was a hotel.

We walked past a bunch of pot-bellied men past their prime and only a handful of Hooters girls to the back of the casino towards the restaurant. The abundance of men working the card tables made me a bit nervous. Not that I was going to the restaurant to see the girls (I’m being honest), but if my “waitress’ ended up being a dude, we was gon’ have some problems.

Anyway we got to the restaurant and had to wait a little longer than I’m used to waiting. I was hungry and the waitresses (women, thank God) didn’t seem to feel my sense of urgency – I had places to be. There were three photographers waiting at the door asking if we wanted to take a picture with a Hooters girl while we waited … which was HILARIOUS to me!! Nothing says I’m not used to beautiful women than a photo of you and a Hooters girl. Why not take a photo in front of sheet airbrushed with a Maserati and a champagne glass filled with diamonds?!

I passed. Plus my wife would have thrown it away anyway … and probably me with it.

So when we were seated, I IMMEDIATELY started thinking about Brandon’s racist Hooter’s experience and told my boys about it. We then started looking for our own conspiracy.

Almost immediately we noticed that NONE of the waitresses were smiling. It was as if we were in some small southeast Asian country and they were nervous about being sold to American tourists before their appearance on “To Catch A Predator.” We also noticed that at least a third of the waitresses didn’t have hooters large enough to work at a place known for them. The funniest part was seeing this not-so-busty woman with a tattoo on her breast. HILARIOUS! It was like a bald-headed woman rocking a headband.

Anyway ….

Our waitress, a pretty young blonde (probably just 18) named Mandy with too much makeup and a really poorly done weave was nice but not friendly – anybody who went to school in the South knows that friendly is very different from nice. She didn’t smile, but she didn’t frown either as she memorized our rather complicated orders. Afterwards, I asked if she was going to remember all of that. She replied,

“No, I’m just going to make it up.”

I kinda deserved that. And she kinda laughed at the end to soften it … I think.

Anyway our service was above average (too bad our wings weren’t). And our waitress never gave us reason to believe that she didn’t want to serve us or had a problem with us being black. The fact that we all had on suits, ties and convention bags might have helped us.

While we were eating, the bartender by the pool walked in the restaurant in her string bikini, spray on tan and manmade hooters and shut the game DOWN! I mean even women turned around to look at her. Don’t know if she was that bad, or just tighter than everybody else up in the place. She wasn’t smiling either. But the rest of us were.

So we finished our very subpar meal (am I the only one who thinks Hooters wings aren’t that great?!) and I stopped the black girl with the best weave as she walked by our table.

“Hey Raven! Can I ask you a question?”

Raven whips weave around

“How do you know my name,” she asked while looking at her tag angrily frustrated that the 18-inch track didn’t cover her badge.

I’ve recently begun boycotting dumb questions, so I just moved the conversation forward.

“Why aren’t any of ya’ll smiling,” I asked somewhat demandingly, like I was OWED a smile.

The 19-year-old hit me with a string of complaints. She was tired. The job was getting old. She starts community college in the fall. Books are expensive. Vegas isn’t what it used to be. And on and on and on.

I shoulda hopped on and complained about how they charged us $1 for ranch dip for our wings, but this was her moment, so I gave it to her … despite my lack of sensitivity for pretty girls complaining about how hard life is.

“So you gonna quit,” I asked.

“No,” she answered.

“You going to drop out of school?”


“You going to leave Vegas?”


This is what happens when you let pretty girls complain.

Even they realize that their problems aren’t significant enough to change. I tried to drop some “keep your head up” type of line and let her go on her way.

We paid and left Mandy tips – mine was more than she probably expected (I think). And we headed for the door. When Mandy saw our receipts. She smiled.

Gene is a journalist based in Phoenix. Check him out at


Ticia said...

Good post Gene---

When I go back to Vegas I am going to look out for Mandy---

I am a great tipper--- Its my duty!

Gene said...

First, thanks Brandon for pubbing me on your blog. There are few outlets I have where I can talk about nonsense comfortably! LOL.

Second, my wife thought my piece was funny, but sexist (especially the pretty girls not having problems, bit). I can't win, Brandon?!

Lastly, Diesel, look out for the bad lacefronts. I KNOW you will notice them immediately. LOL!

K.B. said...

That's tight the tip put a smile on her face.

But, Gene, this almost killed me:

"I’ve recently begun boycotting dumb questions"

Ticia said...

LOL--- @GENE--- you know I know abt bogus lacefronts---

Kimberly said...

Nice new site, and btw, I know I am a terrible tipper. I "gots" to do better....old college habits. And is that R. Smelly on the right in purple leather?!

Brandon said...

This is a tight piece Gene. I see you're brushing off those old feature writing skills.

And yes kim... that is indeed Robert "Loose Bladder" Smelley. Thanks for stopping by.

Gene said...

Thanks B. I'm trying.

B I KNOW you going to be checking out bits and pieces of that fool's trial starting Sept. 17!!!

Joy B. said...

I am black and I religiously tip 20%, unless the service sucked and/or the server got on my nerves.

journiemajor said...

Interesting post. I didn't see that hotel till after my Sunday flight was cancelled and the airline put us up at hotel across the highway from the strip. Never been to a Hooters, have always heard the wings WERE good. But I guess they were trying to impress people with a whole loding institute dedicated to the restaurant, like the airline. But I have heard of that before, people with unimpressive "hooters" working at Hooters.