'Just a taste of certain situations you have to handle as a bartender on Broadway in Nashville,' the bartender shared.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on September 21, 2022. It has since been updated.
A Nashville bartender left social media users with a newfound respect for her profession after she shared a glimpse of the sort of unsavory customers she has to deal with. Jemima June—who goes by @jemimajune_ on TikTok—regularly shares videos detailing her various experiences working at a bar on Nashville's popular Broadway street. She grabbed more than 18,000 views for one video documenting how she navigated a situation where a customer's card declines. "Just a taste of certain situations you have to handle as a bartender on Broadway in Nashville," the on-screen text on the short clip reads.
In the nearly two-minute video, June attempts to charge a customer for shots he ordered only to find that his card gets declined. When she asks him if he gave her the right card, the man hands her a new one and goes on to take the shots before she gets a chance to swipe the card. When the second card also declines, the bartender tells him: "Well, I need $27 right now because you already took the shots." In the text overlay on the video, she explains that since the bar has something called a "liquor count"—where every drop of liquor needs to be accounted for—if the customer doesn't pay for the drinks they consume, she will have to.
Eventually, the customer tells June that he will fetch his friend to pay for the drinks. However, the bartender explains that she couldn't let him walk away since he was drunk and she couldn't count on him coming back. She then asks the customer for his wallet, stating in the text overlay that she knew he would come back with the money he owed her if she held onto his wallet. "Go get me $27 and I'll give you your wallet back," June tells him while more customers start to line up at the bar. "You're wasting my time, all these people are waiting for drinks."
Fifty-six minutes after June takes the man's wallet, his friend comes to the bar and pays the money she is owed. The video resonated deeply with many while several TikTok users commended the bartender for how she handled the unpleasant situation. "Being a bartender in a busy bar like that seems like the most stressful job ever," wrote one. "Two cards declined for a 27$ payment and he thinks you’re gonna take what out of his wallet??? lint???" another commented. "You handled that so well. Although it’s messed up that the business expects you to cover the costs," wrote yet another TikTok user.
Talking to Daily Dot about the incident in the clip, June said: "You would be surprised how many just expect not to pay for their drinks when their card declines. In some cases, customers will offer their phone or wallet as collateral until they can get a card that works. These situations only happen every now and then, Nashville is so fast-paced, normally I don’t interact with customers for more than a minute or two." She also clarified that while the bar she works for doesn't make the workers pay for tabs, she has "worked for other bars that have made us pay for walked out tabs. If I'm providing a service, I expect to be paid." June added that the bar is "really strict on our liquor count. Everything must be counted for and rung in, even our spilled drinks are counted for."