Yeah, Sure I know what to do!


At a recent T.I.P.S. training session, I  ran into an attendee type  I've come across in various forms over the years. I'll call her Susie. Susie is a career server that believes she knows what to do with intoxicated customers. But the truth is she doesn't know what to do. At all. There is a certain type of a server that  unless a patron fell off the bar stool or fell asleep or maybe started a fight, they won’t t cut them off.

I've both worked with these types and taught them in T.I.P.S. classes Their attitude is fascinating to behold. The most recent " Susie" arrived late. Squeezing in the class between shifts and announces loudly that she has done the training 3 or 4 times before can she just take the exam right now?  I reply " Nope. You have to do the whole course, who knows you might learn something new!"

Why do some servers have such attitudes about cutting off a customer from drinking too much? Especially if they have had alcohol certification before? "

First, Cynicism. The cynicism settles in because this restaurant business is hard and it can wear a person down. So to protect themselves, Susie stops caring. It becomes just a job, a way to pay the rent, the bills and feed the children. her job. A common theme is, it's not my job, or the manager can do it or it's not my problem.

Next up: Boredom. What boredom really masks is fear. The “WHATEVER" attitude masks the fearing having the  ability to do it. They are afraid they can't do it. Or that they will do wrong and not be effective. So they don't do it at all.  The boredom factor is something a lot of bartenders hide behind.

Lastly, Know-it-all-ism. Know-it-all-ism usually goes like this: " Do you know how long I've been bartending? Serving tables?!?

 Yes, with experience comes wisdom, but that doesn't mean you have to stop learning. Every time you refuse service to an intoxicated customer you learn some small bit for the next time. A voice tone, a line, the way you prepped for it, or even the customer's response can teach you something. The first time I had a customer came back and thank me for refusing them any more alcohol only then did I realize that what I was doing had an impact beyond that moment, that night. Never stop learning

Thinking back to Susie, whether she admits it or not I know she learned something... Something beyond the exam questions. Susie learned something she can and will use. And the day she uses it, just might be the day she prevents a DUI  or a liquor violation. perhaps even saves someone's life. 

And that will be the day that she knows she learned something. And I will have done my job