In light of massive budget cuts, North Dakota State Provost Beth Ingram has taken a part-time position at The Pickled Parrot as a bartender, giving 80 percent of her tips directly to North Dakota State.
“We’re all in this together,” Ingram, 58, said. “I figured picking up weekends would add additional revenue streams that will assist in counterweighing current budget cuts.”
Ingram said she saw the Parrot’s help-wanted ad in the classifieds last December “when shit started really hitting the fan here on the home front.” The governor’s office mandated that North Dakota institutions cut millions from their respective budgets to ensure the state stays operating.
“If that means giving NDSU $83 through 83 one dollar bills, that’s what we’re going to do,” Ingram said, pulling a thick sticky wad from underneath her stained black tank top. “I’ll do this every goddamned weekend if need be.”
And she has been. Pickled Parrot CEO Brad Chadley said he’s been impressed with Ingram’s resiliency.
“Ya know, I was at first hesitant in hiring Beth,” Chadley said. “She isn’t your typical bartender — too old for the O.B., too vanilla for the Boiler Room, too morally upright for the Nestor.
“She’s really found a home here at the Parrot.”
Chadley said Ingram hasn’t missed a weekend since starting, working 8 p.m. – 2 a.m. every Friday and Saturday.
NDSU President Dean Bresciani said Ingram often goes straight from her office in Old Main to the downtown bar.
“One minute, she’ll be wearing that bright yellow jacket, and then the next, she is in an Ed Hardy tank and jorts,” Bresciani said. “It’s equal parts incredible and terrifying.”
Many terrified 20-somethings enjoy getting their drinks from the provost, Chadley said.
“Just watching her interact with our customer base is amazing,” he said. “She knows all the regulars’ names and drinks and social security numbers. She knows how to wreck a 21-year-old’s birthday with one burnt mason jar. And most impressively, she knows when to call security when a scuffle breaks out — and how to end one without backup.”
Ingram looks at a scar under her left elbow with a chuckle.
“Don’t request ‘Scotty Doesn’t Know’ more than once a fucking night,” she said.