I love my job, I have tons of fun and get paid to laugh and drink with my friends. But there are some things I hate – I mean HATE – and here they are:
1. “What do you have?”
A typical bar has at least 40 different alcohols and ten mixers. Plus beer and shots. What do you want me to do, stand here like an asshole naming them all?
Do you walk into a supermarket and ask: “what do you have?”
Now maybe the question is meant as, what drinks do you serve that are common? I.e. vodka cranberry, gin and tonic, rum and coke, etc.
There are 50 people waiting. What do you think?
You might think it’s better to specify a basic spirit – but it’s worse. Example: “Excuse me, do you have vodka?”
This is like walking into a bank and asking: “Do you have money?” Of course they have money. They’re a fucking bank. “Yeah but what about 20 dollar bills?” “Yes, we have all basic types of money.” “OK but what about 5s?” Kill yourself. It’s like walking into a zoo and asking, do you have animals? No, they all died and instead of closing down we replaced them with sad cardboard cutouts. It’s busy – order a goddamn drink.
2. Waving money
I get it. You have money. You’re going to pay with it.
Listen. EVERYONE here has money. Everyone is going to pay using some form of money. We’re all in the same boat – the boat of exchanging currency for goods and services. It’s not like the bartender was about to stand back and shout:
No one here is trying to barter. No one is offering goats or daughters. It’s all money. Waving your money about just makes you look like an asshole.
3. Demanding service when you’re not ready to order anything
The bar is slammed. Down one end, a girl gesticulates wildly.
“COME HERE OR I’M GOING TO DIE!”
“Oh my God. What’s happening? Is someone hurt?”
“Hi.” Turning to her friend. “Hey Trisha what do you want?”
“Um I don’t know.”
“Ask him if he has vodka.”
“Do you have vodka?”
“. . .“
“Hey. HEY! WAIT! WHERE ARE YOU GOING? DO YOU HAVE VODKA?”
Why? Why are you doing this? You’re not ready! Other people are waiting! I want to serve them!
“Hi, I’m back. What would you like?”
“Oh . . . OH. I wasn’t prepared for this question.”
“What the f-“
“Do you have drinks?
“. . . Yes.”
“I’ll take one.”
“I . . . Here.”
“That’s $7.50 please.”
“Money! You . . . want me to give you money?”
“. . .”
“Oh. I didn’t see this step coming. OK . . . let me pull out the purse in the clutch in my handbag . . . Sorry . . . There are a lot of clasps. TRISHA, DO YOU HAVE ‘MONEY’?”
4. Reaching into the bar
A crowded bar can be chaotic. It can sometimes feel like a siege:
People get rowdy, they’re all like:
The bartender is putting out drinks as fast as he can, he’s like:
In such chaos, there have to be some rules. One golden rule is that no one reaches into or comes behind the bar. There is an invisible territory line and if you cross it you will die. Ignoring this can meet with extreme reactions:
But the worst, the absolute worst thing that anyone can do, is to reach over and pour from your beer taps. At the end of the night, the bartender is personally accountable for whatever you steal. And I don’t want to pay for your goddamn drinks. I came here to make money, not to pay for some asshole to steal from me. The territorial reaction that this triggers is primal:
In fact, it should be a valid defense for manslaughter: “He poured from my taps.”
5. Credit and debit cards
Plastic is the bane of a bartender’s existence, at least when it’s being used to pay for one thing at a time or when everyone wants a separate bill on debit or credit. It slows everything down, meaning other people have to wait longer.
“Hi. We want to split this bill twelve ways but five of those are half cash and half card and three of them aren’t separate they’re together and those three are three quarters on four different cards and one quarter in American dollars do you mind?”
When this happens to me I just want to turn to everyone waiting for drinks and say, “Guys . . . I am going to be doing stupid shit for 15 minutes. Please pour your own pints and leave money on the bar.” But I can’t.
Do I mind? Yes I mind but we both know you are too lazy and disorganised to do this differently.
Paying for one drink at a time on plastic is also ball-bustingly annoying. This is what your bartender is thinking:
A lot of people use cards this way because they don’t want to pay charges on the ATM withdrawal. When it’s crowded, this in a sense costs the bartenders money, because they’re spending their time running cards instead of serving and making tips.
“Do you want a tab?”
“No I’d rather you run my card 14 times for $6.50 each time.”
6. The Sneaky Tip Take Away
You probably expect a rant about bad tippers and walkouts. But I’m not going to do it. Here is how I see my job: I pull a lever – a beer tap – and a dollar comes out. It’s magical and wonderful and makes absolutely no sense and I thank you for it, North America. In Australia, we don’t have a tipping system. Employers just pay people reasonable wages. So thank you, North American employers, for inventing this system from which I ultimately benefit. I’m also going to omit walkouts. It goes without saying that when someone runs out on their bill, and you have to pay for it, it sucks.
One thing that I really hate however is the Sneaky Tip Take Away. This is when someone reaches into their pocket/fumbles in their wallet, pretending to hunt for a tip, until you stop looking, whereupon they stealthily ninja into the night.
Except that I can see them – making it a ninja fail:
I guess the aim is to leave me feeling confused. I’m not confused, I just think you’re an asshole. Why toy with me like that? You’re like a cock tease . . . but a tip tease . . . you’re tip teasing. Taking the tip and just playing with it, waiting for me to get excited. Then running away. What the fuck is this?
“You want it? You want this? Just the tip? Just the tip tippity tip? Yeah? NO TIP FOR YOU! HAHAHA!”
It’s good to ask in situations like this, “Is there something in your pocket?”, to put the person on the spot. Except that you can come off kind of creepy:
Which is not hospitable in the hospitality industry.
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