The Big Tippers

I've told my fair share of funny stories and sometimes people think I make up this stuff. Well, that creative, I'm not. The crazy stuff I've experienced over the years is usually true. And, I mean both inside and outside the studios. This particular story involves cartoonists, of course, but it takes place in a Burbank restaurant. You'll find it's worthy of the wacky stories you hear about animation.

Many years have since passed but back then a group of cartoonists would gather at a local Burbank comic book store. After browsing through the latest arrivals, the group would walk down Olive Avenue to a local eatery. It was convenient and the food was pretty good. Because cartoonists are creatures of habit we often sat in a particular part of the restaurant. Our waitress was friendly, outgoing and didn't seem to mind she had to deal with a bunch of cartoonists from various local studios. Courteous and efficient, she was a welcome sight every Friday we stopped in. Over time, we got to know each other and we learned she was a single mom struggling to make a go of it. At the time the animation business was firing on all cylinders and no one in our group had any serious financial concerns. We couldn't help but be somewhat sympathetic for those not doing as well.

Eventually, the noontime meal came to an end and the bill was delivered to our table. Each of us threw in a few extra bucks. After all, we were all doing well and we knew our waitress could probably use the money. Mind you, we were hardly being Frank Sinatra who would often “duke” a parking lot attendant a hundred bucks. Yet, you wouldn't think this simple gesture would be a big deal, would you? Apparently, the restaurant management thought differently and accused us of causing dissension. Clearly, we were all guilty. Guilty of over tipping.

At this point you begin to realize how clueless management can sometimes be. Had they been in possession of a brain they could have easily resolved the “problem.” Instead, they blamed the waitress and the customers for a matter that could have been easily fixed. This kind of “head up your rear” behavior is worthy of animation studio management, isn't it? The poor waitress was eventually let go and we vowed never to dine at the Burbank establishment again.

This rather unfortunate story took place at a local restaurant and I suppose you're probably wondering the name. If you're a cartoonist or animation artist working in the Burbank area you probably already know. The cartoonists who were once regular customers now dine in another location. The restaurant still does good business and I'm sure we're not missed. However, I'm still amazed how clueless management can be. I thought morons only ran cartoon studios but now I realize they're pretty much everywhere else as well.