Getting Ripped Off at Scottdale Bars is part of my ongoing day-to-day TPOL in the Desert Trip Report.
Arizona provides the best value for those that want to live the lifestyle of the rich and the douchey in the United States. Rent in primetime locations is surprisingly affordable. I pay $1300 a month for a one bedroom in the middle of Old Town Scottsdale. Drinks are relatively cheap like $6 for a Stella at bars and clubs. Fancy restaurants aren’t insane (review of Mastro’s City Hall coming soon), but pizza by the slice is a ripoff (review of Joe’s Pizza coming as well).
Another ripoff which came as a complete surprise is what bars call a ‘Processing Tech Fee’. This bogus charge is 3% of the bill’s total and presumably is there to offset the cost of using a credit card. I used to complain that many places in New York have a $10 minimum to use credit cards. That requirement is more for small shops and bars that take a hit from paying the credit card companies and because they enjoy informal accounting. While minimums to use cards are shady, this ‘processing tech fee’ is downright criminal. The bar that charged this nonsense fee is called Dakota and judging by the massive crowd, it is not struggling for money.
As an anti-tipper (see Uber Eats and I’m Not Tipping Uber Either!), I don’t like tipping a bartender just for opening my beer and handing it to me. I do so because most of their money comes from tips, and I used to be a bartender myself. Right or wrong, this ‘processing tech fee’ has forced me to reduce my gratuity as a way to protest this bs charge.
If you pay cash, you’re still charged $6 for a Stella but no tax is charged on the tech fee. This clever accounting is a way for the bar to maximize its revenues and minimize its tax liability while saving the bar patron nothing.