Mad Friday: The last Friday before Christmas, where tradition dictates that office workers celebrate clocking off for the year, and inhale copious amounts of alcohol in their local pubs and clubs.
If you work behind a bar, chances are you have a very different definition of this festive ritual. Yes, while you’ve just about managed to secure Christmas Day off, you’re having to spend the evening serving part-time drinkers toasting the fact they don’t have to even think about work until next year. If retail staff thought they had it hard on Black Friday, they’ve certainly never had to endure a bunch of solicitors running around a pub; donning novelty reindeer ears and giddy on Baileys and trying to kiss you under the mistletoe whenever you try and glass collect from their table.
It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but when you’re working five 16 hour shifts on the bounce and listening to Mariah Carey for the 35646th time in a month, some of the festive feeling bypasses you. Yes, bar staff sacrifice their social life so you can make yours better, so here’s my guide on how to make their lives a little more bearable this Friday. Here’s how not to act like a dick in a bar when you clock off for Christmas this week.
- Know your drink. This isn’t the night to be asking about the bar’s selection of gins and taking forever to make a decision. No. This is the evening for basic house spirits or a pint. Don’t ask for a tester of the guest ale – ain’t no one got time for that. And whatever you do, when the bartender asks you what you want, don’t suddenly forget what everyone ordered and start yelling across the pub to check if Sharon wanted slimline or regular tonic? Fuck Sharon and her diet. If she didn’t specify, she gets what she’s given. She’ll only order a massive kebab a few hours later so what’s a few calories in a mixer between friends?
- “I’ve got the exact change here, love.” The bar staff really don’t care that you’ve managed to get rid of all your slummy. All it means is that they’re having to listen to you being proud of this ‘achievement’ rather than getting a tip.
- Whilst we’re on the subject, make sure you tip, alright?. Spare me the ’I don’t get tips in my workplace just for doing my job’ speech. Guess what you get instead of tips? A living wage! Just leave a couple of quid after you’ve ordered a big round and don’t be a mingebag.
- Try to avoid having sex in the toilets. It’s awkward for everyone when the bar staff have to hand you a novelty Christmas thong from the cubicle floor and ask you to leave the premises.
- When you’ve ordered 17 drinks, one by one, don’t finish things off with ‘Oh and a Guinness too please, babe.” Look, maybe you genuinely forgot (or perhaps you get your kicks from winding up bar staff) but for the sake of the bartender’s blood pressure, just get Barry a pint of mild instead and tell him the Guinness was off.
- Do not, I repeat DO NOT, moan to the staff about the cost of your order. If you think they have any say of the pricing of the ale, do you really believe that they’d be spending their Friday night enduring your ‘should have worn a mask and a stripy jumper’ gags? No. They’d be on the other side of the bar with you buying over priced beverages.
- Have you ever stood at a busy bar, watched the staff being rushed off their feet, and waited for your 5p change? There’s a special place in hell waiting for you.
- Also, don’t make a big deal about leaving a 5p tip, or less. It’s not a tip, it’s an insult.
- Maybe don’t piss in a pint glass and leave it on your table for the glass collector to find. You may think no one would ever be this sick, but I have had to pick up the dirtiest of dirty pints back when I was a barmaid and the smell never leaves you.
- Are you familiar with the word ‘please’? You are? Great. How about the popular phrase ‘thank you’? Good stuff. Now make sure you use these words when barking your order at the bar.
- The only thing worse than recently turned 18 year olds getting sassy when being asked for ID, are middle aged men and women giggling their way through saying ‘Don’t you need to see any proof of age from me?’ As a Christmas gift to hospitality staff everywhere, retire this ‘joke’ for just one night. Please.
- Don’t become an obnoxious angry drunk and refer to anyone as ‘just a barmaid’. To you, they may just be minimum wage workers, not worthy of your respect, but they have the power to cut off your ale supply for the evening so maybe think twice about being a dick eh?
- When the bartender is yelling at you to drink up and leave, there probably isn’t must hope for a lock in, so don’t ask – no matter how ‘sound’ you think you are.
I think that just about covers everything. Have fun, drink and be merry, and most importantly, don’t be a dick.
And bar staff? My thoughts and prayers are with you.