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07 October 2008

Barroom Ettiquette Isn't What It Used To Be. [angry rant enclosed][More:] I managed to snare $15 in tips today, so I decided to treat myself to a few drinks at a nearby bar that during the week at least is usually a quiet dark watering hole for the employees of nearby stores. I sat there enjoying my shot and beer and listening to the music on the jukebox. Nearby me was this gaggle of sporty shmucks and schmuckettes out on what appeared to be the toot of a lifetime. Everytime somebody they knew would walk in, the women would squeee! like goosed hogs.

After awhile I stepped outside to have a cigarette. When I returned, one of these bimbos had decided to sit on my stool. I walked up there, looked her directly in the face. She looked at me with a touch of indignance as if to say 'what do you want?' "You're in my seat." I said in a voice that showed no amusement whatsoever. I finished my drink, ordered another, and after about 20 minutes, went out for another smoke. When I came back, another one of them (or maybe the same one, who knows?) was on my stool. This time I didn't even bother speaking, merely made a gesture that clearly said "Get up and out of my seat!"

Good Lord, on what fucking planet does a half-empty glass of beer, a pile of singles, and a backpack against the stool NOT signify 'This Seat Taken." Do us all a favor, go back to your Kappa Kappa Delta keggers and stay out of the grownups bars.
There is an entire generation of American kids out there who seem to just own the planet. We're lucky they let the rest of us use it, basically. I don't go in bars any more, but I shop at a grocery store near UT, and there are days I practically have to bash the cell-phone talking student punks and punkettes ("which brand of chips did you want, again?") with my cart to get them to realize that other people exist in this isle, and have shopping to do on one side or the other of them.
posted by Devils Rancher 07 October | 20:04
I was young once, too, and I won't claim to be some kind of Emily Post, but didn't these kids parents raise them with some bare minnimum of manners (and I'm not talking 'don't use the wrong fork' or don't wear white after Labor Day,' manners, I'm talking basic shit like what i described above.
posted by jonmc 07 October | 20:09
Clueless entitlement or just drunk?
You get to pick. It's not like they care.
posted by ethylene 07 October | 20:10
First of all, the woman probably thought that you had left. People who don't smoke probably think first that an abandoned bar stool means a patron has left, not that a patron has just gone for a smoke. How was she supposed to know that you were coming back? A backpack leaning against a stool in a dark bar doesn't necessarily jump out at a person, especially if it is a dark bag. And I have left plenty of half-drunk drinks at bars, and a few dollars tip.

I probably would have thought that you left, too. You should have put your backpack on the stool.

Secondly, it sounds like you were the one with the poor etiquette. You came back to the bar and gave the woman a look? Any reason that you couldn't have politely advised her that she had taken your seat?
posted by amro 07 October | 20:21
They didn't seem drunk. and I've dealt with a lot of drunks in my time, and this has never happened before.

amro: a pile of singles, a half-full glass of beer, and the whole gaggle of giggling morons had been standing there the whole time. and she did it twice. anybody who has spent much time in bars would take that as a sign that someone was out for a smoke or using the restroom. She was a spoiled brat.
posted by jonmc 07 October | 20:26
I don't get it. You left money sitting on the bar that wasn't tip?
posted by amro 07 October | 20:28
Yeah. People do it all the time.It's the pile you pay for your drinks from. and most people don't leave half-finished beers and the bar, and I never do. She just thought the world was hers for the taking and that she could be all 'But I'm a young pretty girl routine,' if anybody said anything. Thankfully, I'm immune.
posted by jonmc 07 October | 20:31
Huh. I've never seen that (the pile of money thing) before. Seems foolish to leave money sitting there, especially if you're leaving it to go outside.

I have spent plenty of time in bars and I would have done the same thing she did. And I'm none of the things that you seem to think she is. Maybe try giving people the benefit of the doubt.
posted by amro 07 October | 20:34
Nah. I was right. you had to be there, I guess. and I've decided recently that I basically hate young people, especially happy ones. It's one of the joys of my day when I get to make some college kid wait in line with the smelly homeless guys and watch them squirm.
posted by jonmc 07 October | 20:37
Alrighty then.
posted by amro 07 October | 20:53
I love happy people. I think it's just a teensy bit contagious. Plus, I can live vicariously through 'em, when I'm not necessarily feeling so happy myself.
posted by box 07 October | 21:06
Nah, they simply annoy me. Once, these two giggly-assed twenty-somethings came into sell books, a girl and some dude with big gelled spikes in his hair. I had left my box-cutter on the counter and he started fiddling with it. "Please don't do that." I said. He put it down and then smirked at me. I came perilously close to using the box-cutter to cut thos pikes off his smug little head.
posted by jonmc 07 October | 21:11
and I've decided recently that I basically hate young people, especially happy ones.

This is why we're so compatible. Like those damn Catholic high school kids in the morning taking up the whole fucking sidewalk, walking arm-in-arm, five or six across. I delight in bumping some skinny little bitch in kneesocks and pleated skirt.

I, too, am an old grump.
posted by Pips 07 October | 21:20
I think jonmc was completely right to be pissed that his bar/hangout had been co-opted by rude people.

My post-work bar is downtown by Father Demo Square and when there are a lot of people in the bar on a non-Friday or Saturday, the manager, bartenders, and waitstaff know enough to try and get the regulars taken care of and their seats saved. They know what side of the bread gets the butter.

But one more thing that might help next time is to do the coaster over the beer trick. And instead of "looking" at someone and then speaking, try the speaking part first. Even drunk college girls respond to politeness.

Or even better yet! Next time it happens, say "Hey, you want a beer?" And when she inevitably says "Yes" then you should say, "Yeah, I want one too. Now get the hell out of my seat so I can drink it."
posted by TrishaLynn 07 October | 22:20
Or even better yet! Next time it happens, say "Hey, you want a beer?" And when she inevitably says "Yes" then you should say, "Yeah, I want one too. Now get the hell out of my seat so I can drink it."

I like that. A lot.
posted by arse_hat 07 October | 23:01
Gah. I hate that. Some idiots at a bar in San Francisco were doing the same thing to me, because a bunch of the people in my group were playing pool. Which was right next to the table. And yet, people would come take our chairs and give me the stink eye when I said we were actually using those, thanks. One idiot actually said to me, "You must not come here often. You can't keep chairs."

The hell?
posted by occhiblu 07 October | 23:33
There's just no substitute for a swift kick in the shins.
posted by Pips 08 October | 00:07
I think I actually ended up using the "swift elbow to the ass" routine, as they were not only stealing chairs but also sitting on our table. Which I was still sitting at.

I get prickly when my space is invaded.
posted by occhiblu 08 October | 00:25
I remember well members of my generation pulling shit like that in the 70s.
They still do it today.
It's not generational.
posted by Ardiril 08 October | 00:26
Yeah, I've had that coat dumped on a bench after I'd draped it over the table to mark my spot at Blind Tiger (which only has benches and backless stools) when I was getting a drink, two gold diggers trying to turf me out of my spot at the bar when I was waiting for a table( I gave them the stink eye and said "I was here first" and the bartender backed me up) someone who strongly reminds me of my mother's stepfather coming up and saying he was going to lean on the chair I had just learned was free (more stink eye and he backed off).

Jacket on the chair/table and napkin/coaster over the drink means I'm coming back.
posted by brujita 08 October | 00:35
I'm with you, Jon. And I love TrishaLynn's suggestion.
posted by Specklet 08 October | 02:34
I'm with you too, Jon. My other barroom-related pet peeve is when you step away from the bar and come back to find out that someone (either another patron or the bartender, or both) has moved your stuff over to another (usually less desirable) spot. If I wanted to sit in front of the taps, wouldn't I have picked that spot in the first place? I don't think of breaches of bar etiquette as generational, although they may be geographical, since they seem to be more egregious in New York than anywhere I else I've lived.
posted by Lassie 08 October | 07:18
At first I though your post said "bathroom etiquette."

"I clearly left a bunch of my stuff there, but when I came back someone else was sitting on the toilet."
posted by StickyCarpet 08 October | 07:59
I don't frequent bars enough to have an opinion on this, other than - damn.

There's a bar here in town I like to go to, where, invariably, there's always someone who has Sloppy written all over them.

Sloppy as in "can't sit on barstool", "can't grab onto bar rail when Drunken Barstool Sit fails", and "incoherent Where's My Mom? Friend? Wallet?" talk commences.

What's worse is when the friends these borderline cases don't do anything to get them home.

Although I remember one time when this occurred and one Miss Falldown 2008 was pawing at the bar and sliding over, and it turned out she was being sized up by a guy for a possible one-nighter. He took one look at his friends, then at her, and backed way, way off.

posted by Lipstick Thespian 08 October | 10:31
Hey, you kids, get off my stool.
posted by danostuporstar 08 October | 10:41
apologies to everyone || Official Debate Thread! Shall we dance? I'm going with a two-step, Nashville Style!