Monday, November 10, 2008

A Bar Observation

A young military guy is drinking with his buddies. He is about to be shipped off and they're all celebrating. I'm joking with the group of guys and aside from them being a little drunk, they're basically a pleasure to have in the bar. Fast forward three hours later. Military guy is ready to leave and asks for his tab. The tab is something like 70 dollars and I hand him the receipt slips and his credit card. I walk away to make drinks for someone else. Two minutes later I come back and the guy says,

"Where's my credit card? You didn't give me my credit card back?!"

He's clearly angry and I assure him that I did give the card back. I tell him to check his wallet and he drunkenly fumbles through the wallet with no luck. He starts raising his voice and I even go back to the register to make sure I didn't drop it somewhere. A scene is starting to build around this dude yelling and saying he won't pay his check. The other bartender comes over to see what's going on and the military guy threatens to punch him.

Long story short, I finally get him to check his pockets. Lo and behold, he put his card in his jeans the second I handed it back to him. Predictably the guy doesn't apologize, acting as if it's our fault that he put his credit card in his pocket after I handed it back to him. I walk away without saying a word and with nary an expression on my face. It's not always military guys, but this scenario happens about 2-3 times a night.

I support the men in uniform, but not when they become drunken idiots who want to fight everyone and then grope every women in the joint (which is pretty common when they're groups of them drinking together). I understand that serving our country in times of war is the most honorable thing a man can do and I respect that to the fullest, but it doesn't give you a pass to be a belligerent maniac when you're back on American soil.

Is it a stereotype that packs of military guys go out, get shitfaced, try to fight people and generally behave like they were raised in a barn? Of course it is, but like other stereotypes, I've seen this one be true too many times.


Tom Sanchez Prunier said...

Speaking of cards, did you card him? Sounds like the louts you see infesting the Bottom every Saturday night, sticking out their chests, bucking and flexing their beer muscles.

Also, aren't there Host laws in Virginia? They only got as drunk as you allowed them to get. Drunks are drunks, and out-of-uniform soldiers are definitely the worst sort. No one got punched - a good night.

Hopefully, you got a decent tip out of the thing. And pray he makes it home okay to do it all over again.

Anonymous said...

"I understand that serving our country in times of war is the most honorable thing a man can do and I respect that to the fullest, but it doesn't give you a pass to be a belligerent maniac when you're back on American soil."

I don't know, I kind of think it does.

Don said...

I can only hope that anonymous above is joking. Ha ha. Very funny.

Old School Bartender said...

some of the worst bar fights I've seen have involved entire teams of bouncers vs. groups of 3-10 drunk marines.

Don't kid yourself though, cops don't give a shit what your profession is when they start arresting people.

Jack Goes Forth said...

Tom- I carded him and in regards to the host laws, yes you're right. In this instance the group of guys were very nice and all about to be shipped off. They were staying in a hotel a few blocks away and I never saw an immediate need to cut anyone of them off. Although, I admit, I should have been a bit more vigilant.

Sometimes, just sometimes, cutting a guy off can make the situation that much worse. I generally will "nice-talk" the guy with a free red bull while at the same time convincing them to close out their tab and get the hell out of the bar.

Bookstore Piet said...

Cutting people off can be touchy because it is so subjective. Years ago I was at bar in NC writing letters at a patio table. I was there for 3 hours until the waiter decided I had had to much and cut me off. Based on what? I was sitting there drinking, chain smoking and talking to no one. To this day I have no idea. (The tab was less than $40 so I could only have had but so much)

Chris said...

Reading this post reminded me of bartending in the early 90s. Too many drunken idiots. Good for you to keep your cool. There is no arguing with someone in this state.

Pauline said...

Bookstore Piet, if you were at the table for three hours with a $40 tab, you were kicked out so the bartender get some more business out of that table. They probably prefer to do $40 AN HOUR or more.

Bookstore Piet said...

Pauline - I find that doubtful as more than half the tables were empty. When it's slow you try to keep every customer.

You also missed the point that it was years ago - early 90's. $40 was a pretty good tab back then.

Try again.

Tom Sanchez Prunier said...

Jack: Sorry I wasn't clear: Home from Iraq. I can see how that statement up against the host law reference looked like I was implying you sent drunks out on the road. I wasn't.

Still hope they tipped you well.

the one and only ridor said...

Jack, when I lived in New York for about 4 years, I had to endure dealing with sailors during these infamous Fleet Week -- often when they emerged from their ships, they looked gorgeous. But when they emerge from bars at 4 AM, they re pretty bloodied, drunk, retards and maniacs. I know because where I live in an apartment -- they re located in Chelsea where the fleets often docked at.

One time I saw one sailor walking down the street with blood stained on his white uniform ... laughing his head off.

But that's them.

So, jack, yes, you can stereotype them all you want.


Anonymous said...

Im going to get so much shit for saying this but here I go...85% of the men I meet in the military are lunatics. I don't give a fuck what you are doing for the country, if your a dick your a dick. Just because you are in the military does not mean you can get a free I can be a total fucking asshole pass. Well either way God bless their crazy asses, some people just are on killer power trips.