Bar Tour Madness, From a Server’s Perspective
If I based my faith in humanity off of what I see in a weekend serving at Pickle’s, it would be almost nonexistent. Working at Pickle’s is the most fun job I could have while in college, or maybe ever, but there are some things that really wear me down, and I know I’m not alone. I honestly care about our guests and want them to have a fun, safe experience at the bar, and I have fun serving them. Sometimes though, the lack of respect and ignorance packed into one 8-hour shift is just too much for me. It’s a lot like being a babysitter and exactly like being a counsellor at an understaffed drunk camp (I don’t think that’s an actual thing, but it feels like it).
I want to start this out by saying sorry to anyone who I’ve mistreated by not being my usual happy and friendly self. It seems that after being treated like a sub-human slave for hours, I stop treating people like the human beings that they are and start treating them like the drunk idiots they’re acting like. I forget that even though they’re all wearing the same thing and being equally as inconsiderate, they’re still human beings. Believe it or not, though, I feel bad about it afterwards, even though they probably don’t even remember it.
I think it would make downtown State College a happier place if bar tour participants would have some forethought and show some respect to the employees at the places they have listed on their shirts. We’re the people who run our asses off to make sure your bar tour can happen.
Here are some tips:
1. Bring cash, especially small bills. Making change for a bunch of people ordering one drink slows down service for everyone. Please don’t ask us to split checks 12 ways and pay with separate credit cards, as that slows down the flow of service.
2. I can only speak for Pickle’s, but please take note that we don’t split tips with the bar. The bartenders split tips amongst themselves, but servers make their own money. If you order from the bar and sit at a table, you will most likely be asked to get up, because if you’re sitting in our section, we can’t make money, and that’s frustrating.
3. Don’t disrespect the establishment. I see so many people throw their gum or trash on the floor or spill drinks and then leave. And why are there paper towels hanging over the bathroom stalls like some kind of high school prank? In what other establishment is that considered ‘ok’ to trash the place? We aren’t a frat house, people.
4. Try to stay out of the way of the servers. We’re busy, constantly moving, and trying to provide fast service to our guests. If someone asks you to move more than two times, you should probably find a different place to stand. Standing next to the computers is a great place to stand if you want to get bumped into every 30 seconds.
5. My observation is that bar tours operate under a group think mentality. Usually the entire group is inconsiderate beyond description or extremely pleasant and friendly. Try to act like a human being and not an alcoholic robot programmed to follow your drunk friends.
6. If you get kicked out, there was a reason for it. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has a lot of regulations, and if we feel you are a threat to our establishment or yourself (someone who would possibly commit an alcohol-related crime), we will ask you to leave, and that’s our right. That does not mean you can walk out on your tab (walking out on your tab is stealing). I personally don’t want to see our guests get into legal trouble because of drinking, and I know plenty of my coworkers feel the same way. We know what it’s like to be too drunk to function properly, and we want to protect you from making some serious mistakes that can’t be undone, for example: getting into fights, getting alcohol poisoning, getting arrested for public drunkenness, getting a DUI, etc. We also want to protect our liquor license so we can continue serving guests who know their limits.
7. If bar tours treat the staff like humans worthy of respect, they will receive the same kind of respect, and it will be appreciated. A kind word never goes unnoticed. A phone number written on your tab that has less than 20% tip is going to be shared and laughed at by the entire staff (you are pathetic to think a girl would call you after disrespecting their hard work). When someone writes $0 for the tip, it’s insulting and hurtful. If you don’t have the money to pay for service, go drink at your apartment. Part of going to a bar is paying for the service. It’s frustrating to have a table who will ask to split the tab a hundred different ways, leave a huge mess on the table and then not leave a tip. It’s hurtful. To you, I know I’m just some girl that brings you drinks, but I’m a real live person who has feelings.
Above all else, you’re in college to learn. The experience is what you make of it, though. If you choose to abandon the manners you were raised on and act like barbarian, you will absolutely be treated like one (that includes the ladies). You are adults and should consider how your actions reflect upon your character, even when out having a good time. We have plenty of regular guests who drink to their hearts’ content but never lose their poise and respect for others. Think of the type of persona you want associated with you and try not to ditch that when you’re out drinking. Every action has a reaction, and to think that your days of acting like a complete fool at the bars aren’t hurting anyone is pure ignorance. Maturity doesn’t just come with age, it comes with cultivating awareness.
So thank you to our guests that are respectful and courteous, past, future, and present. And sorry to the guests who have caught me or any other employee in a bad mood during these crazy spring weekends. Ultimately, we’re all here to have a good time, and I’m sure the rest of spring and summer will bring some great times for all of us.
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About the Author
Happy Valentine’s Day, Penn State.
From leading meditations before lectures to passing microphones around the classroom, HDFS professor Molly Countermine finds ways to make her often large classes personal, fun, and engaging.
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