Beer With Me For A Moment

, , , , , , | Working | November 15, 2018

(In early 1994, I am invited over to the States from the UK by an American music software house, as a demonstrator for their flagship software program at a major trade show in California. Whilst at the show, one of their lead sales managers, knowing of my liking for beer, invites me out along with several other folks from the company for an evening at a local bar. This bar is apparently known for having something like 114 different beers from around the world. Anxious to introduce my friends to the peculiar delights of British beer, I peruse the section dedicated to my home country, at which point the alarm bells go off. There are three beers on offer: a low-alcohol brew borne out of the privations of World War II which hasn’t been brewed for UK consumption since 1976, though still brewed for export at that time, a favourite of Clint Eastwood, but only ever available in bottles, never on tap, and a strong cask ale known for its knee-trembler abilities when consumed to excess. I therefore order a jug of the final nectar for our drinking pleasure, which is duly delivered… at which point I feel the need to complain to the barman.)

Me: *after taking a sip* “This isn’t [Brand]!”

Barman: “Yes, it is, sir.”

Me: *deploying my best upper-class English accent* “Au contraire, dear boy! For your information, I was born 100 yards from their brewery in Chiswick, London. I was raised drinking this, my local brew, and can categorically assure you that this is not [Brand]!”

Barman: “What makes you think that?”

Me: “Well, for a start, you’re obviously serving it from a gas-pumped barrel; [Brand] is only ever served from a tap-and-vent barrel, hand-pumped via a long swan neck. Secondly, the colour is entirely wrong, and thirdly — and most importantly — it tastes nothing like [Brand]. I have no idea what you call it here, but in my country we have a little something called the Trades Descriptions Act, which makes it illegal to pass off a product as something else.”

Barman: “…”

Me: “Get me your manager.”

(The manager ended up giving us free drinks for the rest of the night which, despite this hiccup, proved highly entertaining for all concerned, and a prime example of American hospitality. I note with considerable pleasure that in the intervening years, America has embraced the production of craft ale/real ale and is now making some seriously excellent beers.)

Don’t Drink And Debit

, , , , , | Right | November 11, 2018

(I work at a grocery store just outside of a large town. The town itself has a bad enough reputation with drugs; do I need to mention the drunks? I’m working when an older man stumbles out of a car parked in front of the door. Note that you can see into almost the whole store because of giant windows.)

Coworker: “Oh, great.”

Me: “What?”

Coworker: *whispering* “See that guy who just walked in? He comes in pretty often, and he’s always drunk.”

(I cringe, hoping I won’t have to ring him through. Unfortunately, I have to, but my coworker stays with me because this is the first time I’ve had to deal with a customer in this state.)

Customer: *unintelligible mumbling then drops his credit card on the till*

Me: *ignores mumbling and rings through items* “Sir, you need your card to pay; you’re using [Credit Card]?”

Customer: *stares*

Me: “Sir, your card.”

Customer: *continues staring then mumbles something about cigarettes*

Coworker: *manages to decipher his gibberish* “You’re looking for [Brand of Cigarettes].”

Customer: *slurs something in agreement*

Coworker: *leaves for two minutes then returns with the cigarettes* “Sir, your card, right there; you need it.” *points to card*

Customer: “O-Oh! Yee…” *takes the card and can’t seem to figure out how to put the card in* “You do it…”

(I smile nervously and insert the card into the machine. The customer miraculously remembers his PIN — no idea how because he is HAMMERED — takes his groceries and leaves.)

Me: “[Coworker]… He really can’t be driving when he’s drunk… Have you called the police?”

Coworker: “I have; they won’t do anything about it. It’s ridiculous!”

Me: *cringes as I watch him fall over onto a bunch of seasonal flowers* “He just crushed the mums.”

Coworker: *flinches, glaring out the door* “Yeah…”

Customer #2: “Was that guy… drunk? Is he okay?”

Coworker: “He was hammered.”

Customer #2: “Geez, why does this town have so many problems?”

Hard Liquor Has A Hard Bedtime

, , , , , | Right | November 6, 2018

(In our state, it is illegal to sell alcohol past 2:00 am. It is 1:59 am, the point at which we tend to refuse the purchase of alcohol so that we don’t accidentally break the law, through whatever plethora of delays can happen at the register. If we mess up, there’s a fine to both the store and the employees involved. Also, our hard liquor, vodka, rum, and whatnot is locked up so that an employee has to get a bottle out if you want anything.)

Announcement: “Guest assistance at the liquor cabinet.”

Me: *walks over to the register to grab the liquor key, while checking the time* “It’s 1:59; I’m going to let them know we can’t sell.”

Cashier: “I told them no alcohol. So, yeah.”

Me: *walks over to the aisle where two people are waiting* “I’m sorry, but we can’t sell alcohol at this time. It’s 1:59 am and it’s illegal to sell past 2:00 am.”

(It’s a guy and a girl, but the guy does all the talking and IMMEDIATELY gets whiny.)

Customer: “What? But we just ran all the way here! Isn’t there anything you can do?”

Me: “No. I’m sorry, but we can’t sell any alcohol at this time.”

Customer: “We’ll be in and out before you even know it!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but we can’t take that risk. The cashier already told you no alcohol, too.”

Customer: “Please? What would you do if you were in my shoes?”

Me: *a little curtly, but I’m serious when I say he’s whiny* “I wouldn’t be asking the person in front of me to lose their job over a drink.”

Customer: “You wouldn’t lose your job over this!”

Me: “I’d have to pay a $300 fine and get a significant write-up, though. I’m sorry, but we cannot sell to you.” *turns to walk away*

Customer: “So, you can’t do anything? We can’t get anything?”

Me: “Nothing alcoholic!”

Customer: “B****!”

(The two left without getting anything. Sadly, he’s not the first to try this, but certainly the most whiny.)

Alcohol Makes You Flirt With Danger

, , , , , | Right | November 5, 2018

(My high school choir works concessions for home games and I usually take cash from the customers and hand back change. While I do get flirted with a bit, especially by the younger, drunk customers, this one just takes the cake. I take his order and hand back his change.)

Drunk Customer: “So, what are you doing after this?”

Me: “Going home.”

Drunk Customer: “Not going to tailgate some?”

Me: “No, especially since I’m not old enough.”

Drunk Customer: “Okay. Wait, how old is not old enough?”

(At this point, I drop the polite customer service voice I’d been using and speak as if to a small child.)

Me: “I’m. Not. Legal.”

Drunk Customer: “Oh. OH! Sorry, I’m a little drunk.”

(Yeah, I noticed that.)

Needs All That Sweet To Counter Her Bitterness

, , , , , | Right | November 5, 2018

(The winery for which I work is very small, but serves a wide variety of wine from our own private label — whites, reds, blushes, fruits, as well as dessert wines and ports. Please note that there are MANY wineries in my state, most of which serve their own private labels, as well. Two women walk in and sit at our service bar.)

Guest #1: “I would like a bottle of [Other Private Label] Chardonnay.”

Me: “I’m very sorry, ma’am, but we only serve our own private label.”

Guest #1: “And what is that?”

Me: *not sure how she missed the business name, which is prominently displayed everywhere* “[Our Place] Winery. We make all of our own wines on site.” *hands her a menu*

Guest #1: “Well, I want something semi-sweet, like a Chardonnay.”

Me: “We do have a Chardonnay, but it is a dry, full-bodied wine, not so much a sweet or semi-sweet.”

Guest #1: *to [Guest #2]* “Ugh. I don’t know why we came here. They don’t know what they’re doing.” *to me* “Well, what do you have that’s semi-sweet and white?”

Me: “Let’s take a look at the menu.”

(I take a few moments to describe our semi-sweet and sweet whites, from driest to sweetest, including flavour descriptions.)

Guest #1: “Well, I guess I have to get something. Let’s start with that first one you mentioned and work our way through to the sweetest. Just a little bit, because I might not like it. I don’t know why you don’t have [Other Winery] wines here.”

(I go to the cooler and pull out the first three wines she mentions.)

Guest #1: “NO! Don’t pour them all at once! If I like one, I won’t want to taste the rest!”

Me: “That’s fine; we only pour one tasting at a time. I’m just pulling out the bottles to make it easier.” *pours first tasting [Guest #1] picked out*

Guest #1: “This is awful. Purely awful.”

Me: “That’s okay. You don’t have to like all of them. I’m sure we’ll find something for you!”

Guest #2: *trying tasting* “This is pretty good. Can I get a glass of this?”

Guest #1: “How can you even drink that swill?” *tries tasting the other wine* “Oh, God, this is even worse! Do you not know how to make wine?”

Me: “I’m sorry you don’t like that one. Is it too sweet?”

Guest #1: “It tastes like vinegar and awful!”

Me: “Let’s try this one. It’s very sweet.”

Guest #1: *trying tasting* “It’s better, but still not sweet. I don’t think you understand sweet. I guess the sweetest one will have to do. Just pour me a glass, and I’ll deal with it.”

(I pour the glasses for [Guest #1] and [Guest #2], and give them some crackers to enjoy with their wine. I come back and check on them a few minutes later.)

Guest #1: “I figured out if I pour all the wines together, they taste halfway decent. Has anyone ever thought to do that?”

Me: “Oh, yes, our guests make cocktails from the wine all the time. In fact, I have one guest who likes to mix [dessert wine] with [specialty wine].”

Guest #1: “YOU HAVE DESSERT WINE?!”

Me: “Yes. It’s very sweet; some folks compare it to a ‘syrupy sweetness.’”

Guest #1: “Give me that.”

(I pour her a tasting, which she gulps down.)

Guest #1: “NOW THAT IS A SEMI-SWEET! GIVE ME ANOTHER!”

Guest #2: *samples tasting* “Oh, God, that is strong.”

Guest #1: “WHY DIDN’T YOU GIVE THAT TO ME IN THE FIRST PLACE?”

Guest #2: “You asked for ‘semi-sweet,’ not ‘sweet as h***’!”

Guest #1: “I’m going to buy a bottle of that, because I’m sure as h*** never coming back to this place again, with their vinegar swill crap!”

(After complaining about all of our semi-sweets, insulting our product, mixing six different whites together, and finally enjoying our dessert wine, she decided to leave behind her entire glass of wine after purchasing one of our most expensive — and sweetest — bottles of wine. I guess there’s no pleasing some folks!)

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