If you’ve ever been a bartender for any length of time (and bless you if you have) you’ll agree there’s a grain of truth to the statement… “Bartenders have a sixth sense sometimes about how a customer will act.” Now your friendly bartender is not suggesting an advanced form of intelligence here where our headgear should be the turban and our position while taking our break the pretzeled Lotus… else at least nine “gifted” bartenders in YFB’s acquaintance would not be into their bookmakers for three weeks tip cup… but there really is a sense one gets if from nothing but how a customer orders a drink. It’s a vibe that buzzes the wiring, a programmed reaction that kicks into gear thanks to years of taking part in the stimulus-response practicum. The Bar-land version.
So for those who’ve not tended bar before (and bless you even more) YFB has provided below some non-scientific examples of the practicum in action. The customer’s words will be the Stimulus, your friendly bartender’s thoughts the Response and the Predicted Ending the almost fool-proof outcome.
Stimulus #1: Wine Snob… “Do you have any decent reds?” (operative word, “decent”) Response: Napa fucking Valley hasn’t seen a wine tasting scene like the one coming up! Predicted Ending: (even though our list is quite impressive) “I’ll have a Tanqueray tonic, three limes.”
Stimulus #2: Econo-Line… “Hey, man, like how much are your beers?” Response: Unless I can get my hands on a ten pound bag of Miracle-Gro, the green in my freakin’ tip cup ain’t gonna grow! Predicted Ending: “Thanks, Dude, I was just curious. I’ll be back.”
Stimulus #3: Thomas Foolery… (over-enunciating beyond all reason) “I-will-have-A-nice-De-war’s-and-soda-my-good-man.” Response: This prick’s almost past the point, knows he’s almost past the point and hopes these elocution gymnastics will fool me into confusing drunk with spunk. But he’s a gentleman so let’s give him a shot. Predicted Ending: After three sips of his Dewar’s he’s either swallowed a pair of argyles or, victory now his, he just doesn’t give a shit how he sounds.
Stimulus #4: Party Hardy of Five… “Hey, man, let’s start this off with five chilled double shots of Patron.” Response: Bartender to waiter… Bartender to waiter… send back-up! Predicted Ending: After three more rounds, two hundred fist bumps, three hundred chest bumps and maybe a fucking forehead bump for titles, five grown professionals are eating their cell phones.
Stimulus #5: Donnie Diversion... (almost feigning a yawn) “Um… ya’ know what, my friend? I’ll just have a Wild Turkey rocks.” (operative word “just”) Response: Wild fucking Turkey isn’t close to being a “just”, Mr. Subterfuge, so don’t try to play it down. Chardonnay is a “just”, Bailey’s Irish Cream is a “just”, this shit’ll make you throw stones at fucking holy pictures. Predicted Ending: Midway through his second drink he’s doing “just” what I thought… talking to himself in the mirror and grinning like The Joker.
Stimulus #6: Good Time Charley… (referencing a bartender who hasn’t worked in the place for over ten years) “Hey-eyyy, where the hell’s that Gino, he still work here? (No!) Aw, shit! Dammit!!! Meanwhile, Christ did we have fun, that bastard’s crazy! Woooooo-eeee!!! Listen, I got a meeting in a couple of minutes so gimme a quick double Stoli on the rocks but no fruit… don’t want to spoil a good thing.” Response: You already have because I can see where this is going. The shiny suit and frayed collar tell me you haven’t had a meeting since somewhere in the late 90’s and you’re gonna use this Gino thing to some kind of heinous end. Predicted Ending: “Listen, let me run up the street and get this meeting out of the way, so hold my tab. Oh, and do me a solid first, my man. Cash this two party check? Okay? Gino used to do it for me no sweat. Christ that guy was a nut!”
Stimulus #7: The Talker… (before the concept of ordering is even considered) “Damn, talk about trying to get a cab in the rain – forget about it – my wife thinks I’m nuts for even leavin’ the house – but hey, that’s what wives are for, breakin’ balls, right? – and speaking of waiting – not a time to be a Met fan, right? – every year it’s the same old shit, wait til next year – wait!- (Order, man, order!!!) – but hey, things could be worse, right? – we could be havin’ this conversation in Afghanistan – (You’re having this conversation, not we!) – wow, this place is nice, I dig old places like this – what’s your name by the way? – my name’s Drew.” Response: ARRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH!!! Predicted Ending: This shit will only get worse so after his first sip of Irish coffee and after I find out what he got in fourth grade spelling, I’ll go out in the rain myself and hail him a cab.
Stimulus #8: California Reamin’… (said in a beamingly cute way before every sentence) “We’re from Los Angeles and…” Response: Why do you people from L.A. feel the need to tell us you’re from L.A.? Over and over. First of all, the Hawaiian shirt and December tan already announce that Bio point and secondly, now that I have that information, do you think it’s gonna change how I treat you or how I make your drink? Why start off like that? How come I never hear, “We’re from Schenectady and…” Predicted Ending: So much attention will be required and so much nonsense discussed (think Real Housewives of Orange County, cubed) that all the “good” people of L.A. (and of course there are many), after I’ve explained why we don’t carry White Zinfandel, will be lumped into my dislike for the whole fucking culture!
Stimulus #9: The Starer… From the moment he enters the building he doesn’t take his eyes off you. It’s just starin’, starin’, “Give me your house cognac,” and back to starin’. Response: Aw no, man, not one of these. What the fuck is this about? Too menacing to be a gay thing. Is he a terrorist? Could (so-and-so) have had a husband or a boyfriend? Is he a hit man? Shit, at least blink, man! Predicted Ending: These guys are usually “one and done” but their work is far from done. That’s because Sadistic Hawkeye looks over his shoulder one last time as he’s walking out the door leaving your friendly bartender to still feel the heat. So much so, he tries to recall the words to the Act of Contrition.
Stimulus #10: The Jerk… (to the bartender) “Now here’s a guy who looks like he knows what he’s doin’!” Response: Now here’s a guy that doesn’t. Predicted Outcome: He didn’t.
PS: The only time the Predicted Outcome didn’t turn out the way YFB had expected, was when a shiny suit guy’s two party check turned out to be a three party!
See ya’ next week-end.