Complaint Department

Sorry I’m posting so late, dear reader, (not that you’re waiting by your screen) but just like my beloved Steelers I was going to take a “bye week”. You know, rest my two deft typing fingers and protect my brain from any concussive thoughts… but then I thought better of it. (Especially when I got this thought this morning for a post.)

Here’s what came to me…

While going on duty this past Friday night your friendly bartender encountered an unfriendly rant. And it came from the guy I relieve each night (not his usual M.O.)… a consummate pro who’s normally in a pretty good mood. (Especially when he goes off duty!). He started with, “Do me a favor, will ya’, if you don’t mind.”

“Sure,” I said, “what’s that?”

“When you do your blog this week,” he said, “how about writing about these goddam three limes people?”

“Huh?” I said, knowing exactly what he meant. (I just wanted to hear how he’d put it.)

“You know, these goddam pains in the ass who ask for three fucking limes in a vodka and tonic! It doesn’t even fit in the glass, for Chrissakes, it’s ridiculous!” His face was the color of Rose’, his voice constricted.

“Well,” I said, “if I can turn it into a blog I’ll give it a try, man.” But I knew at the time I wouldn’t try because how can I turn something like that into a blog? I mean a whole blog. Oh sure, I agree with my teed off colleague, this triple freaking lime stuff is nothing but a crock of shite, and if on any given night you’re dealing with more than three of these limeys, you’ll not only go through a third of an orchard and a half a box of Band-Aids cutting some back-up, you’ll be tempted to charge for a fruit salad when they leave. But a whole blog? Nah!

Ah, but then I got to thinking this morning (always a dangerous proposition), that since I do have a blog, since I do get to say some things that most other bartenders can’t… at least not in this format and to an audience… perhaps on their behalf I should air out some grievances. You know, a bunch of our “triple lime” things in addition to the real triple limes…. the stuff that gets our goat on a regular basis.

So, that said, and straight from the Bar-land complaint department, here is our list of gripes and otherwise grievances…

1) If you come in with a group from the office and you’re one of those guys who just can’t drink fast enough, order for yourself and leave the others out of it, okay? Don’t keep saying, “Give us another round, give us another round,” when everyone else is backed up to the gills. It’s “cocktails” not a keg party, so relax and try to act like you’ve been in a bar before.

2) Though well intended I’m sure, please don’t ask, “What should I have, bartender?” Especially if he’s busy! For unless you’re a regular customer and your habits are fairly well known, the question is unanswerable. (Read this…)

3) Try to keep your glass total to at least two per drink, whaddaya’ think? I mean, do you really need the cocktail itself, a glass of ice on the side and a glass of water? Three of you at the bar on a night makes the place look like the stemware section at Macy’s!

4) If you’re only having one drink, have the cash and decency to freaking pay for it. Don’t go and hand me a credit card, pal, okay? You’re the same guy that held up the line at Gristede’s the other day, paying for a bottle of Evian with a Visa Debit Card.

5) If you’re sitting there nursing a glass of wine for at least a solid hour (or a glass of water, for god sakes) til some guy sidles up and offers to buy you one… either drink up and order another or pay up.  I’m trying to make a living, miss, your seat is valuable real estate, and our awning outside doesn’t read And if you’re a guy who’s nursing a drink until a woman sidles up to you, you’ve either lost your fucking mind or you’re looking into your bathroom mirror when the steam hasn’t left the glass from your morning shower.

6) Ladies, if it’s possible (and I’m only half serious here), if you know you’re going to a bar after work could you please refrain from  that lipstick that’s guaranteed to stick? We don’t have acetylene torches back there… the only thing that removes that gloss from the glass. Also, if you’re putting your purse on the bar, let it be less in size than carry-on luggage! I have drinks to set down.

7) If ordering a “margarita rocks, no salt” involves more than the seven syllables required to say it, you’ve already had too many so order, “No mas.” Which goes for any other kind of drinker who can’t pronounce his drink in the required (syllabage?)… know when to say “when”, my friend, not “Ole!!!”

8) (This is number 8, don’t know where that smiley face came from nor do I know how to lose it) Please don’t snap your fingers, pal, to try and get our attention, which also means no whistling or yelling our name. Believe me we see you, and if we don’t just try and be patient until we do. Or raise an arm which we’ll catch in our periphery. When a colleague at work wants to get your attention does he or she whistle or snap their fingers at you? Same thing. We may be in the service business but we’re not trained dogs.

9) Know when to say “fuck” and when not to. I realize the word is like “the” these days as far as its shock value goes, but some people just don’t want that assaulting their evening. Know your room and pick your spots, okay? It’s not all that fucking hard if you fucking think about it.

10) Don’t try to be cute and say, “Let me have one more drink and then toss me outta’ here.” Because it’s not cute and it’s not “one more” but a game you play and a game you always lose. The last time you said it, you not only didn’t mean “one more” drink but you took out a whole table on your way out the door.

11) Now I don’t mean to be a “meanie” on this one but… if you and your wife are dining out and you happen to be toting an infant, please try an pick a restaurant that’s baby friendly. Don’t come into a Mardi Gras setting when Happy hour still is in bloom, and think you’re not making everyone else uncomfortable. In fact it’s unsafe! I know you need a break now and then and have every right to dine out like everyone else, but just pick a place that knows and understands that. And that goes for tots as well, not just infants. (see #9)

12) I don’t have a number (12) at this point but maybe I will later on… I’m already late and I want to get this thing posted!

However, before I bid you adieu, ta-ta, adios, and see ya’ later, (and in the interest of fair play and of course free speech), please feel free if you leave a comment to tell me the things that bug you about what we do. Don’t worry, we can take it… but try to keep your word total under a thousand. 🙂

Over and out from Bar-land, see ya’ next week-end!

20 Responses to “Complaint Department”

  1. 1 unclevinny October 10, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    “I agree!” multiplied by eleven, sir. And I’m pre-emptively agreeing with you on whatever twelfth thing you feel like posting.

    The one I feel strongest about is people dragging their children into inappropriate places (although since I’m a grouch, I think children mostly belong nowhere in polite society!).

    The thing about asking for a glass of water AND a separate glass of ice kind of hurt my brain…

  2. 2 Comrade PhysioProf October 10, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    When I ask for three fucken limes in my drink, I want the bartender to smile and gimmee my three fucken limes! HAHAHAH!

  3. 3 jc October 10, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    *snap snap*
    YO Bartender Whazzzz Up!
    Can I have 3 limes and a fucken side of water with ice in a separate glass? Thanks man.

  4. 4 scribbler50 October 10, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    uncle vinnie: Glad you’re on board, man, especially with “Baby on board”, though I don’t share your general disdain for said toddlers. There’s a time and a place for everyone. And I’m sorry I hurt your brain with (3), take some ice from your glass and apply it to your forehead! 🙂

    comrade physioprof: Limes in a Jameson? I don’t think so, mon frere!

    jc: What, no whistle? (You’re a real gem, my friend, ya’ know that?)

  5. 5 chris October 11, 2010 at 12:24 am

    I must admit I did something horrible at a bar one time. It was my best friends 21st, his father tagged along and paid for around 30 of us drinking all night. So needless to say being young and dumb I took this way too damn far. I am not sure how much I drank that night but lets say probably at least 10-15 shots and 5 beers at the first bar. So I’m talking to someone, get a little dizzy go into the bathroom puke all over the toilet and around it a bit and didn’t really say anything out of embarrassment and we all left a short time later. This was a bar I was regular at knew the bartender well and I know he couldn’t have been happy because I would have been livid. But really what was I going to do, I was lucky I could stand up theres no way I was going to be able to clean it. So anyway sorry to Owen the bartender and any other bartender whos ever had a similar situation. You could probably add people who puke to your list.

    I do have one gripe with bartenders, I’m not a loud nor rude person and sometimes at a crowded bar I can be over looked by the bartender for an inordinate amount of time. This might account for why people think they will be rude assholes who snap at the bartender because they are the ones being served first, while I get annoyed and end up snapping like the rest.

    On your point #4 omfg tell me about it!!! What is it with people who don’t carry cash. I use almost exclusively cash, it makes things so much faster and easier. Nothing more annoying than someone buying a pack of skittles and taking 20 minutes to do so. Off topic a bit but I had some asshole come in my shop a couple weeks ago and I said your total is $95.00, he says well do you bill me for that or what? Yeah pal with cash or a check in my hand. Anyway another great blog Scrib.

  6. 6 everythinginbetween October 11, 2010 at 9:13 am

    hmm, trying to decide if I broke any of these rules…I’ve definitely asked for 3 olives in my martini before until my brother ( a former bartender) told me it was a douche bag move – now I reserve that for when I make them at home. That said, I have never nor have I ever seen anyone ask for three limes in a tonic drink – that’s hilarious. Hmm, the closest to any of these I think I’ve ever come is ordering one more round and asking for the check at the same time…is that kosher?

  7. 7 scribbler50 October 11, 2010 at 9:41 am

    chris: You being “loud and rude” or not, it’s the bartenders job to notice you, he should scan the bar every minute or so to ensure that. Not saying I’m a laser beam… due to a conversation or two I’m sure I’ve left some dry mouth dying of thirst… but scanning the bar is what the job requires. And as far as the cash thing goes, try this one on for size. Three people on a tab for thirty dollars serving up three credit cards to split it three ways. It happened to our waiter just last week!

    everythinginbetween: Three olives is fine, it’s not the same as three big wedges of lime. Plus we don’t have to cut olives (wink, wink!). And there’s DEFINITELY nothing wrong with asking for the check while ordering the last, if anything it gives the bartender a chance to stay ahead of things. He has all that time it takes you to drink to close out your tab. Kosher!!!

  8. 8 Petro October 11, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Ha – great list, I’ve seen all of them. But hey, we patrons *like* those #5 violators! And I’ve endured the glare from my otherwise friendly server when I did sidle up and “enable” the little magpie(s)…

    And I’ve had to politely point out to people who repeatedly scream out the bartender’s name during the madhouse that is St. Paddy’s day in an Irish pub just exactly why their Guinness is taking, like, forever.

    The only thing I find even remotely annoying from my side is when I am served up a gratis drink and y’all think it’s cute to refuse to tell me who bought it. Still better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, though.

    @everythinginbetween: I’m one of those who ask for the tab on the last drink – I’ve always intuited that it made things easier, glad to see that scrib agrees!

  9. 9 scribbler50 October 11, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Petro: Guess what? With regards to your one complaint in paragraph three, I also hate having to deliver that message. It’s usually a guy saying “Send that woman a drink over there but don’t tell her who it’s from.” What the point? You wanna’ make a move, man, make a freaking move! If I wanted to play those secret games… be the mystery courier… I’d have bought a hat and a bad trench coat and gone into espionage.

    Thanks, as always, my friend, for the unique Petro perspective. (Hey, that sounds like a Ludlum title… “The Petro Perspective”. I like it!)

  10. 10 Donna B. October 12, 2010 at 1:29 am

    I think I need to get out more because I simply have not broken enough of these rules. In fact, I think I’ve only been in violation of is #11 and that was… um, that was some years ago. It involved toddlers at a Playboy Club.

  11. 11 scribbler50 October 12, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Donna B: Toddlers at the Playboy Club??? Boy, when you break a “rule”, my friend, you don’t mess around!

  12. 12 The Siren October 12, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Supposedly Marilyn Monroe’s old trick to avoid lipstick on a cocktail glass was to lick the rim discreetly while sipping. (It was probably done by a lot of starlets, she just gets credit for all this stuff.) Over the years I have tried this numerous times and can testify that 1. It works all right, not great, but all right, and 2. the key word there is “discreetly” because 3. you have to watch who you do this in front of, as some guys take it the wrong way. Cheers!

  13. 13 scribbler50 October 13, 2010 at 12:41 am

    The Siren: Hah! Only you could come up with a pearl like that regarding Marilyn. Thank you for that. Meanwhile, my friend, I was thinking your 3. while I was reading your 1., a guy sure could get the wrong idea!
    Cheers back at ya’!

  14. 14 JSaw October 17, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Spot on. #11, especially if you add the people who feel they must bring their dogs in with them wherever they go…

    I do have to ask about #8 (i.e., the sunglasses smiley face)…
    there have been times when it is CLEAR the bartender is ignoring me. For example, serving the two people on either side of me but never me. What to do, what to do?

    (You’ll have to take it on faith that I’ve done nothing untoward to warrant this.)

  15. 15 scribbler50 October 17, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    JSaw: That’s a tough one. Meaning there’s no excuse for it therefore there’s no solution. Unless you simply say, “Am I invisible here?” If it’s the same bartender, the hell with him, find another bar, it’s his problem. If it happens in more than one place I don’t know what to say… I guess just be more assertive.

  16. 16 kathequa October 19, 2010 at 12:32 am

    The three limes – very annoying, especially when they squeeze them and then use the bar or table as a receptacle for discards. Possible additions, “Long Island, and make it strong!” Yes people do still drink these and question your ability to make a proper drink. Also, poutrage upon learning that you do not have blue cheese stuffed olives.

  17. 17 scribbler50 November 4, 2010 at 12:49 am

    Kathequa: Three good ones, thanks. Limes lying on the bar, “Make it strong,” as if you could possibly make a weak L.I. Ice Tea! And yeah that third one, I just came across this blue cheese stuffed olive stuff… more bullshit. And they actually seemed taken aback that I didn’t have them. Yuppies don’t die, they just get more annoying.
    Thanks for your comment, you obviously know whereof you speak!

  18. 18 Marty Wombacher January 29, 2012 at 10:44 am

    I agree with all your points, especially the infants and toddlers. Take them to McDonald’s playland or Chuck E. Cheese, not a bar, they don’t belong there. My big complaint towards the noble men and women in your profession is those who are constantly in the corner texting away instead of paying attention to the bar and the patrons buying drinks. I think establishments should make it a rule that bartenders should put their texting devices away while on duty. And if I had my way, those on the other side of the bar should have to put them away as well.

  19. 19 Jamie February 7, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    I would make #12, physical contact. Nothing wants to make me want less to do with a patron than someone who invades my personal space. Grabbing my arm or wrist is not not only rude but could cause an accident.

    In regards to #8, I would like to add the come-hither finger, like I’m a naughty child. I found my way around this one though. I approach right away with a big ol’ smile, “Yes, you were fingering me?” so nicely and nonchalantly playing like there is no second meaning to what I said, yet it sounds so crude just the same. No one has ever “fingered me” a second time in over 21 years.

  20. 20 scribbler50 February 8, 2012 at 1:48 am

    Jamie: Great #12, I couldn’t agree more. I go nuts when someone grabs me by the arm. I want to reach over and… well you know the feeling!

    “Were you fingering me?” is a new one to me and one that I’m sure it dropped a few jaws. Well done!

    Thanks for those, Jamie, you obviously been around the block with all this stuff.

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