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Bribing your way into some of New

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 09, 2004

Bribing your way into some of New York’s best and busiest restaurants.

Reader comments

sarahApr 09, 2004 at 11:31AM

Awesome. That story made me giddy enough to move to NYC just to try it out.

RyanApr 09, 2004 at 12:10PM

I agree. I desperately want to learn this skill. It seems so simple, but its one of those things I probably never would do were I not so enthused by this article. Now to find the restaurants in my area that qualify.

Tim DierksApr 09, 2004 at 2:13PM

Man, I’ve wanted to know how to do this for years, and I never had the guts to just try it. As to where qualifies, I think just about anyplace: I’m guessing that $10 to the right person will jump you past the 45 minute wait for a table at Applebee’s, if you try it.

BenjyApr 09, 2004 at 2:15PM

hope this tips work in Chicago!

jojoApr 09, 2004 at 8:45PM

This reminds me of a time when a bunch of college friends and I were all vacationing in Vegas.

We wanted to get in to Rum Jungle (at Mandalay Bay), which was THE new hotspot. It was a Friday night. There was a long, long, long line.

One guy in our group walked up to the bouncer in the VIP line (he told us to follow him and he’d get us in). So there we are - 6 guys, all waiting to see how our friend would work his magic.

He waved the bouncer over, handed him a Twenty and said “My friends and I would really like to get in - isn’t there a reservation for Mr. Jackson?” This was the first time he’d attempted a bribe.

The bouncer rolled his eyes and said “I know you’re not trying to insult me, but you ARE insulting me. Put that away.” He must have felt bad enough for my ill-informed friend, as he let us all in anyway. Oh how we laughed.

JustinApr 09, 2004 at 9:50PM

My girlfriend and I got “OMFG FREE Tickets!!” to some cheesy topless lounge act at the Flamingo when we were in Vegas a couple years ago. The show’s adverts weren’t very compelling, looking instead like throwbacks from old Jack Lemmon & Walter Matthau promotional pieces.

Walking into the theater, we were greeted by a very old gentleman asking where we’d like to sit. I suggested anywhere would be fine, to which he responded, “Well, I’m sure we have a table in the front row available!”

“Down front?” I asked. “All right, that sounds fine.”

He clasped his hands behind his back and said, “Well, I’m sure we can work something out for you, sir…. Thank you.”

“Thank you,” I thought? Why is he thanking me? “Okay, sounds good!” I said, trying to sound more excited.

“I’d love to sit you down front, sir. I’m sure we can work something out. Thank you.”

All of a sudden, my mind clicked and I realized this old man was trying to get me to slip him some cash to be seated at a table down front. My girlfriend and I had no real desire to see this show, mind you; we simply had free tickets and wanted to play the role of kitsch-seeking tourists. “Um, actually - anywhere is fine, sir. Thanks anyway,” I said, declining his offer.

He silently walked us to a 6-person table in the back of the room, at which 4 people were already sitting. There were at least 30 empty tables in the theater, but he walked us to a table that already had 4 people sitting down. Not really interested in sitting with these people, and armed with my knowledge of his bribe-ability, I repeated his offer in order to try to score an empty table. “Sir, my girlfriend and I would prefer an empty table,” I said. “I’m sure we can ‘work something out.’”

To which he responded, “Nope,” and hastened away.

This old man effectively punished us for not tipping him!

The show was terrible, the performers lame, the drinks weak, and it was a great, unintentionally funny, hour’s worth of entertainment, complete with our very own SeatNazi.

bonzo mcgrueApr 10, 2004 at 3:25AM

Anyone else notice the article is dated 2000?

spygeekApr 10, 2004 at 11:53AM

Honestly, I don’t think you’d get results by slipping $10 to the hostess at Applebee’s. Around here, at least, the chain restaurant employees are so stupid they wouldn’t know what to do.

notwealthyApr 10, 2004 at 1:26PM

They wouldn’t know what to do? How may such employees become educated? Any chance there is article applying these same or other schemes to restaurants of “less quality,” such as Applebee’s or Macaroni Grill?

Christian DesrosiersApr 10, 2004 at 5:16PM

I have never spent as much on a meal that this guy spends on a bribe.

BobbyApr 10, 2004 at 9:35PM

Justin, I know the exact show you are talking about (it’s called Bottoms Up), and the exact usher you are talking about. Oldest guy in the room, with his hand politely out. I ran into him myself, and the exact same scenario ensued, almost verbatim!

MattJApr 12, 2004 at 7:55PM

Bonzo - I’w with you. I read it in like, well, in 2000.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.