Tip #5 on Being a Good Bar Customer

18 Feb

And so here is the next installment of my beloved bar customer series…unless of course you are one of the people described in one of the posts in which case I imagine the series is not very beloved by you at all.  Hopefully, those people don’t know I have a blog.  Or maybe don’t take themselves very seriously.  And also don’t have access to a firearm.  Right.  So, you can read the earlier tips here:  Tip #1, Tip #2, Tip #3, and Tip #4.

So my tip for today is actually more like a 3-pronged tip because this woman was doing all kinds of things that one shouldn’t do as a bar customer.  The real take home message of this one is don’t throw things at your bartender, but I will talk about a few other infractions along the way.  Alrighty, here we go.

So on Saturday morning at about 12:30 or so, in walks a very diminutive woman.  She sat down, asked about the credit card minimum and asked me for a Brooklyn Lager.  She then mentioned a pleasant past experience she had in the bar and told me what the bartender looked like so I could tell her his name?  So I would know she wasn’t lying?  Who knows.  Anyway, she seemed nice enough to me so I served her her drink and we got into a conversation.  She started asking me all kinds of questions about myself, my job, my family, what I did in my spare time, and, once I told her I was in the middle of writing my master’s thesis, she asked me about my master’s thesis.  She then said to me what was, up until that point, one of the stranger things that a customer has ever said to me.

“You are the first normal person I have ever met.”

I still am unclear as to what that was supposed to mean but I took it in stride while also thinking to myself that this lady was obviously a little bit of a whack-a-doo.  She then asked me a question which was both insulting and also sort of confusing, partially because I think she was using big words to prove how smart she was but maybe didn’t actually know what those words meant and maybe lacked a full working knowledge of proper grammar.  I am going to paraphrase the question here because it was weird.  She basically asked me if I am so driven that I am incapable of taking other people into consideration and also incapable of understanding the ways in which my upbringing and other things have allowed me to do the things I do.  Um.  What the fuck?  So, for those of you who know me the idea of me being “so driven” is kind of absurd considering it has unnecessarily taken me going on 4 years to finish my master’s.  (I will be done this May, damnit!)  Also, that I am so oblivious as to not know that coming from a very stable, both emotionally and financially, family has had a hand in making me a balanced person is a little insulting.  Whatever.  I tried to brush it off and I said,

“Um, that’s a really weird thing to say.”

And then I walked away.  It was at this point that she attached herself to the first set of people that she subsequently scared out of the bar.  They were two women — both working in nonprofit, both super nice and interesting — who had come into the bar because they thought my outside board was really funny.*  They ordered a round, she started talking to them about weird things probably rivaling the weird things she said to me, they finished their drinks and asked for their check, giving a slight nod and a “that woman is cuckoo” eye roll on their way out.  Damnit.  Then she leeched onto two guys who sometimes come in after their run and scared them away, but not after they sort of mocked her a little bit without her realizing because she was not terribly self-aware and I did feel a little bad about that but not bad enough to step in since she was chasing everyone out.  Then this dude came in to collect money for an AIDS walk he was doing and, in the middle of me talking to this man, she says

Um, sir? Yea, you can wait. (And she looks at me.) I would like a refill on my beer.

To which I said

No, you can wait.  I am in the middle of a conversation with this gentleman.

I may or may not have then stretched the conversation out a little longer than it would have otherwise gone to try and piss her off.  At this point she leeched onto, and scared away, a third set of customers.  It was a husband and wife pair who had more than one drink (I think because during their first round she was otherwise occupied harassing the running dudes).  The husband was okay entertaining her but the wife was less than impressed to the point that, when crazy lady had her back to me, I actually mouthed an apology to the lady.  See, the thing is that this lady had been walking the line of inappropriate for a long time but had never actually crossed it.  She would say something insulting, like the question, and immediately follow it with some sort of a statement like “oh, I hope I didn’t insult you.  Sometimes I just get a little too direct.  I just have this need to know things.”  She thought she had this special talent in bringing people out of their shells.  I thought she had a special talent in being a manipulative bitch.  Anyway, back to the story.

Once the third group left the following conversation happened between me and the lady:

You are ignoring me.

I’m not.  If I were ignoring you you wouldn’t have any beer. I’m busy.

You’re ignoring me.

Listen, I have customers other than you.  I cannot stand here and entertain you.  This is the way I do my job.  If you have a problem with the way I do my job, then that’s a whole other issue and you are free to get a beer somewhere where someone does their job better.

I thought this would be it.  I thought this would be the thing I would say that would get her to ask for her check and leave in a huff.  But no.  She said

Not at all.  I was actually about to compliment you.

See?  Manipulative bitch.  But then she adds

If I had a philosophical (this word was very jumbled) problem with the fact that I have been here drinking all day, I would be home.


And then she asked for her bill.  Okay.  So I decided that since she was sort of a nightmare, since she had made the first 5 hours of my shift sort of hellish, and since she had chased out 6 of my good customers, I would not buy her back at all.  Her bill came to $56.  She had drank a lot of beer.  I gave the bill to her under the taps, she looked at it, started scribbling illegibly on it, then crumpled up the receipt and threw it at me, following in close order by the pen.  Oh, you have got to be kidding me.  At this point I had just about had it.  And this is what happened next:

Me:  Are you serious?  This is how you are going to behave right now?  How old are you?

Lady: How old are YOU? $56?!

Me:  That’s how much you drank.  That is not my problem.  If you have a problem with the bill then maybe you should rethink your drinking habits.

At this point she stands up on that tiny little ledge under the bar where you’re supposed to put your feet because she was really small and this made her feel more intimidating.  She gets as in my face as she can possibly manage considering the width of the bar and also the fact that I was standing a little bit back from it and she says

Lady:  Are you challenging me?  Let’s go!

Me:  Okay, go ahead.  You want to hit me over the bar? Hit me. Go for it.

Lady: You’re challenging me!  Come on!

Me:  Honey, you are so drunk that if I tapped you you would probably fall over and crack your head open.

Now, in hindsight, this last bit seems a little like a threat but I didn’t actually mean it that way.  I really did mean that if I were to touch her she would get so unbalanced that she would fall over because she was that drunk but probably I should have just not said anything at all.  Anyway, this went on for a little while longer and ended with me telling her I felt bad for her son (really mean, I feel bad about that) and threatening to call the police if she didn’t leave and her stumbling out in a huff, barely missing walking into the door on her way out.  I then ran through the math on her bill about 20 million times.  Did I do something wrong?  I thought back about all the little tick marks on the post-it (because that is how we keep our tabs, very professional) and I realized that I had accidentally overcharged her by about $6, which I do feel badly about.  But it wouldn’t have changed anything.  She would still have gotten mad about her big bill and would still have thrown her crumpled up receipt and pen at me and would still be 86ed from the bar.  And the thing about it, is that if she had not thrown her pen at me and had instead said calmly, ‘I think my bill is too big’ I would have gone back over the bill and noticed my mistake and maybe, because of the inconvenience to her, I would have taken one drink off the bill and everyone would be happy.  But no.  She threw a pen at me and that was a mistake.  So, yea, don’t be that bitch.

*For those of you who don’t know, on the weekends I tend to use my sandwich board outside the bar to make oftentimes humorous observations.  This Saturday the board said “Hugo Chavez is apparently doing well after his cancer surgery.  That’s good new for democracy!” and “And another of this generation’s sports idols falls.  Good work, Pistorius.” Okay, that second one is more sad than funny but you get the idea.

13 Responses to “Tip #5 on Being a Good Bar Customer”

  1. Jody Frank February 18, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    Wonderful story. What rich material you get working there…how could you ever give it up? Plus, you’re so diligent, efficient and philosophical…just trying out my big words.

    • FranklyRebekah February 18, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

      It’s true, I do get quite a bit of fodder from the bar although, knowing me, I could probably find something to rant about anywhere.

      Good use of words, Dad.

  2. Ben February 18, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    That was my mom. And I appreciate your sympathy.

    • FranklyRebekah February 18, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

      It couldn’t have been easy. I feel for ya, buddy.


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