Tag Archives: social mores

Tip #22 on Being a Good Bar Customer

24 Dec

Aaaaaaand we’re back. You know, you would think after over a decade behind the stick I would stop being absolutely amazed by people’s behavior. But, you would be wrong. I think one of the things about being a bartender that is great is that I get to meet so many interesting people. People who have had all kinds of jobs, lived all kinds of places, loved all kinds of people. Aside from deciding if they are of legal age, you really don’t screen who walks into your bar and you don’t – aside from a libation or two – know what they are looking for. Are they meeting a friend? Are they looking to get out of the house for a bit? Needing a little quiet time? Wanting to see a familiar face or two? Do they want to talk to me or just sit, scrolling endlessly through their phone? It’s all fine, really. As long as they are reasonably polite which, to be fair, the vast majority of people are. But there are some (as is evidenced through my now 22 tips for how not to behave poorly in a bar) who just…don’t know how to live in a world with other people. They don’t know how to abide by the rules of a private business. This is a story about a few of those people.

I work in a few places, one of which does not permit strollers in the bar. This is not because we, as an institution, hate children. We actually allow children. Just not their rolling means of conveyance. Why? Because those fuckers take up A TON of space. You get 4-5 strollers in a place and you lose a ton of real estate and, with that, the potential for a lot of business. And you know strollers are like ants, where there is one another one (or 5) is never too far behind. That is not good for my pocket and it’s not good for the place I work. So, we don’t let ’em in. Period. There’s even a sign on the door. It says

NO STROLLERS. THANK YOU.

I bet you know where this is going.

Here’s the thing. Most people are cool about it. Most people, when they hear the phrase

Excuse me? I am so sorry but we actually don’t allow strollers in the bar.

Will either offer to leave their strollers outside on the avenue – totally cool with me – or shrug their shoulders and say

No problem. See you next time.

No harm no foul. But there are always a few who just will not hear it. They try to argue that no, they don’t plan to be in the bar, they plan to sit outside in the patio on a beautiful spring day. A place where basically every single other person also wants to be sitting (hence the no stroller policy). Or they will just fold it up small, and insist I won’t even know it’s there! Or they try to turn it into a bag? And in the process spew all the baby accoutrement that can no longer fit inside the stroller-turned-bag and instead it occupies the surface of like 3 additional tables. Which is not that much better than having an open stroller in the room. As it turns out, babies need a lot of things.

Over the past year or so, I have had disagreements with five people who just couldn’t grasp the no-stroller policy. And like, come on, I am the bartender. I work there. I don’t own it. I don’t make the rules. I just enforce them because if I don’t enforce them and my boss walks in and sees a whole mess of strollers do you know who he (rightfully) says something to? Me. Not you. Me. Because I am the keeper of the rules and it is my job to make sure that people abide by them. So it’s like give me a break! When I politely inform you that we don’t permit strollers, please don’t do or say the following things, all of which have been done or said to me:

  1. After I tell you I don’t allow strollers, please don’t then ask me if we permit smoking outside and then, when I answer in the affirmative, please don’t tell me that “smokings kills people, strollers don’t” while you storm out (although that was hilarious)
  2. Don’t instruct your stroller-pushing partner that “you’ve got this” when you walk into the bar full well knowing we don’t allow strollers, thinking you can bully the short girl behind the counter. Also, when I continually inform you that we don’t permit strollers anywhere in the bar, don’t first tell me I am the “hostess” and I should do what you need and then don’t call me a servant before storming out. Not a good look.
  3. On your way out the door after I tell you, again politely, we don’t allow strollers, don’t gesture around the empty bar which I had opened 5 minutes earlier and snarkily say “I guess you don’t allow customers, either.” Because being rude for no reason doesn’t help anyone. It just make you look like an ass.
  4. Don’t put your stroller into an actual bag and then try to tell me and my coworker that it is not a stroller at all but is, in fact, a backpack.
  5. When I have told you immediately upon entering that we don’t allow strollers, please don’t stand around inside and text for 15 minutes with your stroller blocking the entrance way, then when your friends arrive take all the items out of your stroller and try to fold it up (still not allowed), and then blame me about how you have to leave your stroller outside in the rain. That’s not on me. This is not a situation where you ask for forgiveness later. Just don’t do it.

Listen, I know people with kids want to go out and have drinks with their friends. And they should! Parents are people, too. They are now just people who come with other, smaller people. You can even bring your kid to the bar (as long as you don’t allow them to run around, throw things, and scream). Basically, just be a parent the same as always. Meaning, continue to parent. Having a beer in your hand does not mean all your parental responsibilities are gone unless you have left your kids with a sitter (who you are paying a reasonable hourly wage). In that case, have at it! But either way, leave your stroller at home! There’s no excuse really. They now have all sorts of baby backpacks, baby wrap things, baby front-of-the-body-carrying things. All those things are great! Bring those things! Just don’t bring the strollers. Or the attitude. Although to be fair there isn’t a sign on the door banning that.