Tag Archives: advice

Tip #21 on Being a Good Bar Customer

28 Mar

Wow you guys. I haven’t written one of these since this one back in August of 2016, and that one included positive reinforcement. I know they were a popular part of my blog, but almost getting fired over writing them sort of took the shine off the whole thing, you know? Well, whatever. That was then and this is now. And I still don’t actually think I did anything wrong, as long as you don’t consider hurting the feelings of a couple of arrogant, misogynist assholes “something wrong.” I certainly don’t. So, that being said, let us continue.

So this post is a lot less about someone actually doing something awful and a lot more about one of my biggest pet peeves as a bartender. And it’s not just me! I did a (very limited) survey of some of the bartenders that I know and discovered that this is a pet peeve shared by all two of them! So I will extrapolate this data and apply it to all other bartenders and voila! I declare this pet peeve universally held. What is the pet peeve, you may ask? Let me tell you a little story.

So there I am, behind the bar. A new customer walks in. I greet him with a peppy(ish)

Hey! How are you?

as I reach over, grab a coaster and toss it in front of him. He replies that he is okay, takes his phone out of his pocket, puts it down, takes his seat and orders his drink. I make the drink, engaging in polite conversation as I do it. But then when I return to his seat and make a move to put his drink on the coaster that I have placed in front of him in preparation for this exact moment I realize it’s gone. But I swear that I put it there. I always put down a coaster. That’s part of the whole steps of service thing that I am so accustomed to. So where could it be? And then I see it: his phone. He has put it on the coaster. And I am immediately reminded of the hundreds and hundreds of times this exact scenario has played itself out over the past decade and change during which I have occupied space behind the stick.

And I am left wondering, why? Why do people do this? Do they have coasters on their coffee tables that they use as resting places for their phones while they watch TV, placing their beer or whisky on the rocks directly on the wood, potentially leaving a ring? Do they always have two coasters present, one for the phone and one for the drink, just so that their phone doesn’t some how feel less welcome? Do they enjoy constantly wiping up small puddles of condensation that has accumulated on their surfaces? Is this just a small expression of their concern for the environment, and their worry of our ever-expanding landfills and its effects on the planet that we call home? Am I missing something?

I am also left standing there with a prepared drink and no pre-placed (and available) coaster upon which to place it. What is a bartender to do? Well, there are a number of different possible next steps.

  1. Shrug your shoulders and place the drink directly on the bar;
  2. Grab a new coaster, toss it either casually or angrily next to the original coaster (this is entirely dependent on the bartender’s mood and/or the number of times she has faced this exact same scenario that shift), and place the drink atop its new throne;
  3. Reach down, grab the phone (AKA coaster stealer), move it and then place the drink down on the original coaster all while making eye contact with the customer;
  4. Place the drink on top of the phone which has now become the de facto coaster after its successful ouster of the previous coaster which was not fairly elected in the first place.

Personally, I oscillate between options 2 and 3. They are direct and instructive (two things I love being!) all without putting myself at risk of an accusation of destruction of property even though, really, putting your phone on the bar is pretty dumb.* One of the two people I surveyed for this post recently made use of option 4 and told me that although it didn’t go over that well in the moment (PSA: no phone was harmed in the placing of the drink) it is pretty funny in hindsight. He doesn’t, however, recommend that particular course of action for the faint of heart. So, I don’t know, maybe I will leave that for the blessed day that I work my last ever bartending shift. Which will probably never happen. Whatever, a girl can dream.

And, while I’m dreaming, you can journey around my blog and read all the previous tip as well as all the other random shit I write about. It’ll be fun (and sometimes infuriating). But mostly fun. I swear.

*I do it all the time.

Sometimes I Hyperventilate

21 May

You know when you have the smallest little bit to do of something you have been working on for the longest time ever but you just can’t seem to wrap your head around doing it so instead you sit at your computer and read the news and watch funny videos?  No?  Well, then, I just don’t know what to say to you.  Yes? Read on for a ramble!

So I have been working on my master’s degree basically forever.  Sometimes, when I am mad at myself for ever getting into this in the first place I think back to the day when I found out I got into my program.  I was convinced when I applied that there was no chance.  Then, one day, after a run I checked the mail and inside the little mailbox was a letter from The New School.  I ran upstairs, opened the letter, read that I was accepted and immediately started hyperventilating.  That’s this new thing I have been doing the last couple of years.  I seem to have grown into a person who is simply incapable of handling big batches of emotion all at once.  Case in point: a few months ago I was on a run, listening to Ira Glass on This American Life.  This particular episode (is that what a radio show is called? Is installment better? I should look this up..) was about an entire town being disappeared in the 1980s in Guatemala.  Everyone in the town was killed except for these two little boys who were found recently and one of them was reunited with his dad who had been out of town the day it was disappeared and thought his entire family was dead but in reality his youngest son was alive the whole time and living with the person who had orchestrated the whole disappearance.  Anyway, there is this whole big story with a reunion and it was really very emotional and there I was running and running and listening to it and trying not to cry but occasionally having to pull over on the side of the park to hyperventilate.  Crying and running at the same time is no bueno.  It was not my finest moment.  I don’t know why I thought it was a good idea to listen to that podcast while running but, yea, that’s me.  I am good at making decisions.  Anyway, back to the original story.  When I got my acceptance I immediately started calling people:  my parents, my boyfriend at the time, other people.  And wouldn’t you know it? No one answered the phone.  So there I was, standing in my living room, jumping around and also kind of crying, all by myself.  I basically couldn’t breath and thought I might die from happy.  Now that WAS my finest moment.

So anyway, here I am all these years later, finishing up this degree that has at sometimes been empowering and sometimes been incredibly frustrating and infuriating and I want more than anything to be done with it but I just can’t seem to make myself work through the final push.  I am getting in my own way, as I love to do.  I erect these little unnecessary barriers for myself, and then I have a stress attack and an anger explosion but the anger is always directed at myself because I am fully aware that I am just making it difficult for myself for no real good reason.  I like doing that I guess.  (Again, good at decision making.) Makes it all the more exciting when I persevere.  Like, the other week I realized that I had forgotten to fill out my application for graduation.  It was available online all semester long and I just never clicked on the link.  It would have taken me 5 minutes.  So then I got all stressed and was convinced they wouldn’t let me graduate and also was embarrassed by my own idiocy so I kept putting off doing it and then when I finally did it it took like 2 minutes and was so not a big deal.  But this was like, 2 weeks of stress.  I think I got a new wrinkle from forgetting to fill out my form.

Anyway, that’s me and that is what I do.  So I am going to close all my funny videos and stop reading about the tornado in Oklahoma (so sad!) and get back to work.  And I am going to take my dad’s advice.  A few weeks ago I was on the phone with my dad and I was stressing out about all the work I had to do and my dad just said to me, “Rebekah, get whatever it is in your head that is keeping you from doing this out of your head and just do it.  You are almost there.  The only person in your way is you.”

So, get out of the way, me!  Let’s do this!