The bar I work at requires two bartenders every night…three or four…on the busier evenings. Working constantly with other bartenders allows you the opportunity to ignore the more annoying patrons and pawn them off on your fellow employees. Every bartender employs his or her own unique tactics for escaping from certain customers. Here are some of mine:
- Bar Radar…The key to making these strategies effective is to spot the annoying customers approaching the bar before your counterparts. I always keep a watchful eye on the entire room…especially the front door…for any incoming idiots. The second one…or a cluster…shows up on my radar…I rapidly transition into survival mode…initiating one of the below procedures.
- Duck And Cover…Duck under the bar and untie your shoelaces before you slowly tie them. You can also pretend to clean up a spill. Anything that gets you out of sight at just the right moment.
- Retreat…Run to the hills! Disappear to the back of the house as if you urgently need to get something. Take just enough time to make sure one of the other bartenders has gotten stuck with the annoying customer. Reappear with a bucket of ice, glassware, or backup bottles…as not to arouse suspicion.
- Bathroom Break…Tell the other bartender you really have to go and can’t wait another second. Lock yourself in the shitter and enjoy a quick breather. Reserve this one for extreme circumstances because it’s a limited resource.
- Reach Out And Touch Someone…Definitely one of my favorites. It allows you to watch in amusement as you stick your partners in crime with the annoying customer. Grab the bar phone and act like you are taking a complicated…to go…order, or conducting important bar business. Put one finger in your other ear…scratch down some random gibberish on a cocktail napkin…and present yourself as visibly flustered.
- Office Space…Simply stare at your computer screen…as if you are completely focused on ringing in an intricate cocktail order…hit a bunch of random buttons for as long as it takes. Just don’t look up until you are positive enough time has passed to place you in the clear.
- The Waterboy…If you happen to be working in a part of the bar where your back is turned to the onslaught of annoyance…you can stand there, act busy, and happily construct water mocktails. This will only buy you a few seconds, but sometimes that’s all you need.
- Talk With A Manager…If a manager is around…pull him aside and start asking random questions about the schedule, complain about something, ask a favor that you don’t need, etc. If you’re talking to a manager…most people…annoying or not…will generally gravitate away.
- Change The Keg…Pour a splash of beer into a beer mug…just enough so that it’s visible. Pretend that the keg has blown…leave the partly filled mug under the tap in view of everyone…and vanish into the back to change the keg that isn’t out.
- Pray…The last resort when you get caught off guard. Grit your teeth and pray to whatever god is convenient for you in that moment. I always turn to the bible of Star Wars, and attempt for the Jedi mind trick…You will not sit here…I am not the bartender you wish to annoy…You will stay the fuck away from me.
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