When, as often happens, I am confused for the star tailback who won Superbowl XX with the Chicago Bears in 1985, I laugh merrily and demur. Though the mistake is understandable, as I am told I have the same predatory, catlike gait Walter Payton possessed, there is one crucial difference between us: Mike Ditka has never watched me shower.
I bring this up because I tire of people approaching me to ask for autographs in the mistaken impression I am someone I am not. What is worse, it is very difficult to convince a star-struck fan that you are not, in fact, Diana Ross when said fan has already decided you are. Protestations are usually met with, “Oh, you’re too high and mighty to sign an autograph, Ms. Ross?!”
“I didn’t really want your autograph anyway, former United States President Jimmy Carter!” they say, huffily.
Okay, look, I mainly wrote the above to somehow shoehorn in a joke or two before I mention that Anna’s, a gastropub that opened a few days ago in the space at 1913 Royal street (formerly Sukho Thai) has already closed. Anna’s was not around long enough for me to visit, and the thing I noted about the place is that they had announced a no gratuity policy, intending to pay their staff a higher than normal (for the industry) wage instead of relying on the vagaries of the tipping public. From what I have heard, the restaurant may have closed because the whole, “don’t take tips, we’ll pay you a living wage” thing fell down on the “pay you” end of the bargain. See also, “We’ll pay our rent.”
I have to admit that I chuckled when I heard the news about the closing only a day or two after hearing about the policy on tips, but I immediately also felt pretty bad about chuckling. It’s not actually funny that the restaurant has been forced to close, and I doubt that whatever dispute caused it is amusing to those directly involved. I’m also not opposed to the idea that folks should be paid a regular wage instead of tips.
Why did I find it funny at first? It could be because the place was a gastropub without a liquor license; in the Marigny. Perhaps also because the perception that doing away with tipping is pretentious or self-righteous, and the quick shuttering is comeuppance?
I don’t know. I sure didn’t have a similar reaction when I heard Purloo had stopped serving for the time being. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Ryan Hughes, and I’m anxious to find out where he’ll turn up next. I guess the best we can hope for is that whoever takes over the space that Anna’s briefly occupied and the restaurant in the Southern Food and Beverage Museum will serve good food, regardless of how they compensate their servers.