“Dear Leila”: Neat Pour’s Industry Advice Column

By Leila Wagner |

Whether it’s a fine dining restaurant or a neighborhood dive, restaurants and bars are the back-drop for many of our lives most significant (and insignificant) moments. We’re here to let our hospitality expert answer your most vexing questions.

Whether you’re drowning your sorrows in the bottom of a glass or the bottom of a tip jar, Leila Wagner is here to help sort out your problems.


Dear Leila,

I have been seeing a man for a few weeks. We’ve gone out four or five times and I like him, but he’s a shitty tipper. When he leaves two bucks on 40 dollars worth of drinks, I don’t want to go home with him. I try to hint that he should leave more, but it doesn’t work. What should I do?

Stiffed in Seattle

I can’t grasp why you didn’t slap a tenner on the bar and loudly apologize to the bartender the first time this happened. But, what’s done is done.

The time for hinting is over; the time for directness is now. Poor tipping, at best, indicates cheapness; at worst, it indicates extreme narcissism coupled with a profound lack of empathy. But, if you really like this guy (is he cute? he’d better be cute) then you must confront the issue.

You can start by asking him if he’s ever worked in the service industry. I’ll wager the answer is no. Share your impression of life in the industry in a non-confrontational way. Probe for any sentiments that might explain why he doesn’t tip well. Does he think bartenders are overpaid already, or that they don’t work hard? Does he feed you the old “restaurant owners should pay them more and I refuse to compensate for their cheapness” line of bullshit? If you can figure out what his gripe is, then you might have a chance at changing his wicked ways.

Failing that, stop dancing around it and tell him you noticed that he leaves garbage tips. He might get all fragile and storm off. Or, he might be embarrassed because he was oblivious. Or, he might tell you that he’s secretly a member of the British royal family and has never had to tip before and thank you for your common folk wisdom. You won’t know until you face it head on, which is what you have to do if you want to keep going out with him.

Since I don’t have particularly high hopes for this guy – next time you’re on a first date with a guy split the bill. If he doesn’t tip well make sure you point it out to him, and compensate for it with your own tip. Also, don’t fuck him, and never call him back.


Dear Leila,

I met a man online, went out and had a great time. But after the second date, I learned that he’s a Yelper. Like, a serious Yelper. He’s the nicest man in the world in person, but a complete asshole on Yelp. He even goes to Yelp events. Is this a deal breaker?

Online in Omaha

This is more than a deal breaker.

I’ll need you to follow my instructions carefully. First, block his number. Delete all texts, emails–anything that might tempt you to contact him in a moment of weakness. Second, prepare a strong solution of hydrofluoric acid and submerge your cell phone in it. It will dissolve within a few hours. Enlist your most trusted friend to seek him out and tell him you’ve died. Make sure this friend can cry on command. To be safe, prepare your obituary as evidence. Buy a very convincing wig. Leave your home as little as possible. You’ll have to go off grid for a time, especially if he knows the places you hang out. Better make peace with Domino’s delivery for now. Just, count yourself lucky you escaped before it was too late.

Take this time of exile to destroy everything you own that he may have touched. Frequent hot showers can help cleanse the flesh of his any trace he may have left on your body. However, cleansing your soul will be a trickier matter. While scouring yourself, think carefully upon a new litmus test to weed out such monsters should you ever be able to emerge from hiding and date again.

Whatever you do, do not tell him why you can’t see him. Somewhere in the depths of the Yelper darknet there’s a secret website. Hidden behind the safety of a fedora-bedecked avatar, he will rate you on a scale of one to five stars; accuse you of being an overrated hipster; critique your lips as tasting “oversalted” and “pedestrian;” and complain that your stuck up vibe made him feel like he wasn’t cool enough to be around you. Oh, but he’ll give you one star for having the Kill Bill box set on Blu-Ray.

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