When we last chatted, I was giving some helpful hints on how to not be hated by your bartender. It’s just some little tidbits of advice based on my own observations. I’ll be bold enough to say that I speak on behalf of every bartender, everywhere when I cite the following list of peeves. Feel free to poll any bar folk you may know. This piece is the byproduct of behaviors I’ve seen so far in the summer of 2014. It was most specifically prompted by many of the sub-humans I encountered on July 4th weekend. You know, that holiday that is unofficially sponsored by white zinfandel and Corona light. Each summer ushers in a fresh set of annoyances blended in with the age old ones. From what I’ve seen so far, I can only assume that the Ocean City Tourism committee spent of butt-load of cash on a major advertising campaign in Middle Earth. Well, it’s working! They are crawling to the surface in droves.

In case you forgot, I ran out of room last week right just as I was hitting my stride. To recap, I touched on right and wrong first impressions when coming to a bar, and some fun fashion anomalies. I’ll now pick up right where I left off. Each and every night, I have a front row seat to witness the systematic dumbing down of humanity. My hope for the future of our species lessens with each new half-wit that I serve a shot of Fireball to. First up is the stereotypical cheapskate that I know I’ve touched on before, but it cannot be reiterated too often. If you approach the bar, and the very first thing you say to me is; “what’s the cheapest thing you got?” You must be prepared for some variation of the following response; “evidently, you.” If you are expecting a warm embrace followed by a detailed list of items I have to offer which may fit within your budget than you are even dumber than I thought. You may as well be wearing a sticker on your chest that reads; Hello, My Name Is Painintheass Whowonttip. This exchange can go a few different ways. The worst case scenario is that you laugh at my comment and sit down and annoy me for the next several hours for absolutely no financial gain on my end. You laugh at my comment and stay because you think we have now bonded because you were fooled by the sarcastic smile I wore as I delivered my reply. That coupled with your lack of dignity and intellect has now rendered you an unfortunate side effect of my life. The best case scenario is that you are just embarrassed enough to realize the error of your ways, you leave, and now know not to ever ask that question again. You’re welcome.

Many people seem to underestimate the significance of the manner in which you order your drinks. At the risk of sounding shallow and judgmental, this is yet another area where first impression can be lasting, and could potentially make or break our relationship. Do NOT wave your arms frantically like you are sitting in a life raft in the middle of the ocean for the fifth day and you are trying to signal a passing ship. Do NOT put 2 fingers in your mouth and whistle. The only thing that will get you is thirsty. And, it’s teetering right on the edge of ‘grounds for an ass whoopin’. Do NOT pound on the bar with your fists, tap your empty bottle or glass, or use the noise from making contact with ANY item on the bar top as a means of getting my attention. This will get my attention and it will garner an immediate glare directly at you which I will hold for a minimum of 5 seconds. It will be the same look you’ve seen from a parent reprimanding a young child using only facial expressions and no words. This behavior, if repeated will ultimately land you in a customer category known as the “Magician’s List”. This means that you have just made yourself invisible.

Contrary to popular opinion, we bartenders are neither flattered by, nor do we appreciate being summoned by any of the following monikers; chief, sport, doc, captain, homey, garcon, and especially not Yo. Feel free to ask us our names. If we don’t already want to choke you at this point, we’ll give you our real names just please don’t abuse that knowledge or let it leak into the wrong hands. Otherwise, just operate under the assumption that all bartenders will promptly and happily answer to the names;  Excuseme, and Whenyougetachance. Oh and we all have the same last name – Please.

This next one may not irritate every bartender as much as it does me, but for some reason it just gets under my skin. Don’t place your drink order in another language unless it happens to be your native language or you have reason to believe it’s mine. It’s usually pretty glaringly apparent that neither of us is French or Hispanic. For some reason, ordering your next round of drinks by saying; “dos mas por favor” annoys the hell out of me when it’s being spoken by a 45 year old white dude from Harrisburg who has never been south of Ocean City.

If you are over 50 and still ordering your cocktails mixed with Red Bull, it’s time to reevaluate your entire existence. You’re not making yourself look cool or hip to the young crowd. You look silly, and almost tragic. Accept your age and be thrilled that you made it this far and drink like a man. Chances are you’re wearing one of the outfits I mentioned in last week’s column.

I’ll end this week with what is probably one of the biggest irritants of bartenders universally. This is geared toward the specific demographic of those who are pissed off when they get carded. It seems like the closer they are to 21, the more dramatic their little performance is when they actually have to remove their identification. Let me answer it right up front for you; if we were 100% certain that you were over 21, we wouldn’t be asking for proof. So don’t ask any of the arsenal of stupid questions. All you are doing at this point is angering the person who will ultimately decide whether or not you are going to get a drink. Sounds pretty stupid when you look at it that way, doesn’t it? So I will now break it down for all of you peach-fuzz-faced 21-26 year old D-bags who don’t understand why I have the audacity to ask you to prove your age:

First of all, I don’t know you, so your Natty Boh draft followed by a 10 cent tip doesn’t mean enough to me to risk the hefty fine, potential jail time, license of my employers, and the jobs of over 80 people. Second, it’s mid-July and you are in a bar in a seasonal beach resort town, and you don’t look like you’re fifty or over. Third, there are nearly 300 active liquor licenses in a town that is only ten miles long. Furthermore, this town is an entire army of soulless 20 year old police cadets. They spend their evenings hitting the bar scene desperately trying to entrap hard working people who actually have contributed to society. They do this with pride because they are too young to know about karma. They do it with a chip on their shoulder because they are still bitter about their C minus grade point average and their lasting high school nickname, Lunch Money. Fourth, don’t present your I.D. with an attitude unless you expect to have your drinks delivered to you in the same fashion. And finally, just accept the fact that you look young to some people. Most of you look exactly the age I thought you were, but it doesn’t change the fact that I legally have to verify it. It is a very simple, standard process that is going on in every single bar in this country, so don’t act like I’m the first person to ask you for proof of age. And most important, enjoy the fact that you are being carded for as long as you can. Trust me when I say it’s a sad day when you have to accept the harsh reality that no one needs to see your I.D. any more.

Thanks for playing along. Be courteous, enjoy your stay, and for goodness sake, use the cross walks.

Until next week, Syd Nichols.