We have found out why this is a custom here, please read the post again.
This is "where the waiter almost knows our name", at our "local", the Amarillo Albero ("the golden-haired little girl"). Well, we finally introduced ourselves to him. His name is Alonso; he's from Venezuela. His mother is Spanish and lives in Huelva where Pepe lives. He came here only three years ago, thought it too dangerous to continue living in Venezuela because there is much violence. He has three boys and brought them here to Spain. Our conversation (or I should say Bruce’s) was mostly in Spanish and tested Bruce’s vocabulary, but Alonso spoke slowly and made sure we understood what was said before continuing. Funny, I could get about half and Bruce got the other half by understanding what he actually said. So he comped us again on another drink and we think charged about half price for the meal. We left a good tip; he needs to feed his children and we appreciate the service.
Later, another day, Alonso remembers our names, have a tapa each, then Alonso brings us another, a la casa (on the house). Ready to go, pay the bill, which is too small for what we consumed, so tip well again - and he brings us another tapa, again al la casa. We were warned not to over-tip so I guess he’s trying to pay us back. We’ll go back to regular tips and hope this one-up thing stops. Like and appreciate the gesture(s), but not comfortable with it.
Great discussion over this between Bruce and I for reasons why. We talk at length about this. Alonso must have been a waiter in Venezuela, if he wasn't, he is a good one now. He cares about the people he serves and works really hard, especially when it is busy on weekends when he almost runs back and forth from bar to tables.
|And here he is!|
Okay, this is getting ridiculous! Next visit, we deliberately decide not to order something to eat but do order a drink, nice sunny Sunday again. Alonso comes out with a tapa, then another, a la casa, both, then when it comes time to pay he won’t let us pay for anything! We now think maybe the proprieter/owner of the place is behind some of this, but since he’s always behind the bar, Alonso must tell him. Beyond silly and the language barrier is problematic to both thank properly and stop it from happening, it’s getting embarrassing! Only a few days left here sadly, but we will miss him and his eagerness to make sure everyone has a good time there. It seems that Quid Pro Quo really applies here.
If you are curious and Google the bodega you won't see fabulous reviews, a mixture of good and not so good. The bar across the street does a roaring business but is very crowded much of the time, mixed reviews there too, we prefer Amarillo Albero. Just preferences, as with all reviews and circumstances of the visit(s). For us it's more about the food quality, service and not always the most popular place to go, more of a locals place. We have had consistently a great experience here. So my next thing to do would be give it a good rating on Tripadvisor. Done.
Pepe explained to us by talking to Alonso that the bar is taking good care of people like us who frequent often. We take care of them by being there and patronizing the bar. So it is all a win-win, and still appreciated from our point of view. Thank you Pepe for getting that clear for us. So far we thought we were doing quite well about understanding Spanish customs but this one puzzled us. It is good business from the bodega's point of view and ours also because we like going there. So thank you Alonso and Amarillo Albero for making our stay here more pleasing.
Cheers, Bev, Bruce, Lexi Cat and Alonso too I'm sure!