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Keep Dallas Observer Free
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Read Your Receipt Closely and You May Find Out What Your Server Really Thinks of You

The first time I noticed the receipt phenomenon I had just finished lunch at a bar. I was scanning the receipt because I'd forgotten my bartender's name and amidst the time stamps, item descriptions and other information was a field that said something like "redshirtbar."

Because I'm a completely clueless human being, unable to see I was wearing a red shirt at the bar, I asked my bartender what it meant. I will never ask the question again.

I did, however, pay close attention to my checks for a while. Most servers use the field quite literally to describe a customer or group of customers in a way that differentiates them from the crowd. Shirt color, the number in the group or other differentiating characteristics make it easier to keep track of who's ordering what.

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But on occasion some servers take for granted that customers never read anything other than prices and totals on their checks and have a little fun with the field. I've found a few clever jokes, been hit on once, been insulted once and then, after a while, stopped checking.

Last week I was at an Ethiopian restaurant and sat at the bar to watch the end of a football game. When I got my check I randomly noticed it said 2whit@bar, which I'm pretty certain translates to the two white people sitting at the bar. I looked around the restaurant and sure enough my date and I were the only white people plowing our way through rolls of injeera.

So, friends: Read your receipts carefully. There may be a laugh, or a date, hiding in the fine print.

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