By Bunny Walker
(Bunny Walker is an in-cognito, verbally vicious, veteran drink slinger. Her rants appear regularly here on The Drinkslinger. Bunny is currently doing what rabbits are best known for: Making babies!)
Once upon a time, it was perfectly normal, almost even required for bartenders to drink while working. My old friend, Neal and I even made a game of it at one bar where this behavior wasn’t forbidden, but rather frowned upon. We’d see who could get closest to the owner and covertly do a shot of Jagermeister without getting caught. I won that one, giving the old boss a hug and throwing one down over his shoulder.
This same bar also had the oldest Micros system I’ve ever seen. Customers were represented by check numbers, and you couldn’t tag a name to them on the system, so we’d keep a notebook of tabs next to our POS. Check 1762—Paul, for example. During extreme high volume situations, we’d use descriptive terms. Neal’s might read, 1224—Bodacious Ta-tas, or Jack Ass Patriots fan. If we had a really good one we’d run over to share it. A regular customer with a permanently startled expression on her face was named Curious Sue and it never stopped being funny. I could see her years from now in a far flung location and still remember: Curious Sue–Miller Lite, peppermint schnapps.
For the sake of accounting and inventory most bars stopped allowing employees to drink a long time ago and we all just have to wait until after work to get the party started. I never really minded being a sober bartender, but you have to admit, there are some nights where a well timed shot of Rumplemintz could really save your sanity. Sometimes it feels like you’re in the weeds for hours, or that every bottle you pick up is empty with no back up, and sometimes, it’s the customers driving you nuts. Sure, sometimes they get really drunk and annoying, but my least favorites aren’t necessarily the drunken ones. Here are some of the most aggravating types of customers, named after classic cocktails.
Woo-woos (vodka, peach schnapps, cranberry juice)
Typically found at sports bars or traveling in packs as a bachelorette party or a group of freshly 21 year-olds, the woo woos are more heard than seen. They are perpetually in a state of screaming “WOOOOOOOO!!!” at the tops of their lungs, regardless of which team scored and regardless of the kind of bar they’re in. I’ve even encountered woo-woos in a wine bar and in close quarters it’s all you can do to stop yourself from taking out the Chief Woo-woo (there’s always a leader) with the business end of a broken beer bottle. Now if you find yourself having to accommodate a tribe of woo-woos, one strategy I’ve employed in the past that seems to work well is to fight fire with fire. Eventually they will want to procure refreshment so every time they try to order, yell, “WOOOOOOO!!!!” into their face. They may join you at first, but typically they will eventually see how exasperating this is and either stop or go somewhere more woo-woo friendly.
Duck Fart (Kahlua, Baileys, Canadian Club)
A tasty shot, but a loathsome creature, the duck fart. I have a friend who enjoys a good smoke and I love him but brother, your cigar smells like the inside of Chewbacca’s ass. More and more states make smoking in bars illegal as the years go by and as a former smoker, it IS inconvenient and annoying. Now that being said, I also see how inconvenient and annoying it is for the nonsmoker. Many a girl takes the time to shampoo her hair and don Downy fresh clothing topped off with a spritz or two of her signature scent. Some women even coordinate their fabric softener, shampoo, lotion, and perfume to layer their scent. Enter: The Dragon, puffing away on what looks like a dog turd and smells just as delightful. All that work for nothing! They make cigar bars now, fellas, please go. And don’t make a stink about it, either!
Pink Lady (gin, grenadine, light cream, egg white)
The counterpart to the Duck Fart: “Girl, you gots too much perfume on!” The Pink Lady smells like she just drank a pint of Febreze! I don’t know if there is such a thing as too-much-perfume-bars, but at least make your way to a tiki bar or an outdoor bistro.
Pain In The Ass (rumrunner + pina colada)
Nine times out of ten, this creature is a young drinker, maybe only 21 for a few months, that tenth one—underage for sure. The Pain In The Ass will actually order a pain in the ass and expect you to layer it. Or there will be a six pack of them, each wanting a different flavored frozen drink, typically ordering them in a bar equipped with only one blender. If you are foolish enough to actually accommodate these baby boozers your trouble will be rewarded the same regardless of the amount of trouble you took. One frozen rumrunner, your tip is $1….1 rumrunner, 1 banana daiquiri, 1 margarita, your tip is $1.
NJ Turnpike (pour your beer mat into a shot glass)
No two ways about it, this character is scummy. Rather than drink what they like, they only want what’s on special. They want it strong, and they want it fast, and they will probably try to use an additional coupon once they get their tab, a coupon clipped from the side of a pizza box from 1984. Be careful, NJ Turnpikes will also complain to your manager about your attitude and end up getting everything for free….and they’ll be back tomorrow for half price happy hour.
Whoever may be giving you grief, always remember that it’s only a few more hours till freedom and that it’s only a job. Enjoy your days off to the fullest, knowing that you are something delicious too. I myself am a Liquid Pants Remover.