The Know It All
I am not, by any means, an expert... People have worked in bars longer than I, others have tasted more brews, been in more scuffles, earned better tips, really "Seen It All".. But I do like my job, and I like to do it well. In one shift this week I had three incidents of the customer playing the "I know better than you" card, which will inevitably trump everything. The old adage "the customer is always right" isn't true but its a real fucking idiom- and the people take advantage.
Me: I think you owe me for that last drink
Customer1: No I paid you already
Me: Are you sure because...
Customer1: YES. I PAID
Customer2: You have any to-go-cups?
Me: No. Sorry
Customer2: Are you serious? Really? You don't?
Me: Yeah, We don't. Sorry.
Customer3: Theres a lot of head on this :::Irish accent:::
Me: yeah we pour all our beers with a good amount of head, its becau-
Customer3: Yeah but not with a lager or a IPA!
Me: Actually it’s for the-
Customer3: I mean, a stout- yes.
Customer #1 did Not pay me. As for #2, to-go cups in New York are highly unorthodox. An open container will get you or the bar you just stepped out of a ticket and a summons. I only know of two bars in Brooklyn that are known for their to go cups and one is a cop/firefighter bar that functions somewhat above the law.
And customer #3.. If I had the patience to be interrupted just a few more times, I might have been able to explain to him that head on a beer is a good thing. For almost all ales. It releases the aromatics, adds a frothy texture to the first sips, and on top of it all- it looks good. At times, almost beautiful. At my bar every pour has an inch of head or even a little extra. A beer with no head could come from a tap with dirty lines, a keg with low Co2, or a bartender who knows nothing about beer. If you want all 16oz with no foam, drink a tall boy can in your apartment.
In the past month or so, our bar has acquired a new regular. He is a beer enthusiast, somewhat new to the game. I think coming to the bar every day and reading our beer descriptions has largely informed his sense of taste and expertise. Yes, "expertise". Every customer that approaches the bar on either side of his stool will get a menu handed to them from His hand, not mine. They will then be informed as to what He is drinking, how much He likes it, and what else He can recommend from the list. He likes to throw around the same adjectives, in a different order, that we have listed on our sheet. He likes to choose beers for strangers. He likes to offer his beverage for others to taste.
Someday soon, when I just cant take it anymore, I'm going to stop him. I am going to say something like "SHUT UP SHUT THE FUCK UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP- Do I come to your place of work, and try to do your job for you!?" So much of drinking is about personal enjoyment, with friends, strangers, or completely alone. Do you want some random telling you what you should be drinking before you've even had a chance to hang your coat? Do you want your bartender schooling you about your misconceptions in between rounds? No body likes a know-it-all... and if they do, they're probably just pretending because it's part of the job. And sometimes "being right" is just part of being a customer.