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Dealing with Drunks June 30, 2009

Posted by Alex Sawit in Stuff in General.

By Alex Sawit

30 June 2009


I hate dealing with drunks.

Of all the things I will eventually miss about this wine shop of ours, disciplining misbehaving customers of the smashed kind is not going to be one of them. Whether they’re newcomers who’ve just walked in off the street or folks who’ve been coming over for years, I don’t relish being forced to bring people into line after they’ve stepped over it. But it comes with the territory of running an establishment like ours. Normally I only have to restrain offenders by firmly communicating my annoyance in a manner that is both verbally and visually unmistakable (kinda like Bruce Banner’s mild mannered speech, “Don’t make me angry… you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry,” but delivered with the blood-shot ferocity in the eye of Tony Montana’s classic, “Say hell-oh to my little friend!!!”). But, yeah, there have been a few times when I’ve tossed people out when I deemed it necessary.

Just recently, I had to drop the axe on a pair of Aussie neighbors after an unpleasant night. They’re decent blokes when they’re sober, but they just couldn’t get it through their skulls not to act like bulls in a china shop when they’re at Cyrano.

“There are consequences for your actions,” I told one of them when he came back several nights later asking for a shot of malt whisky only to be denied service. “You’re welcome to order coffee when you guys are here,” I told him blankly, “but from now on I won’t serve either of you alcohol.” At first the fellow seemed to accept his sentence with aplomb. Then about a week later he showed up in a less than sober state and, in a pseudo-bullying manner that embarrassed me in front of my regulars, insisted on being served some Glenfiddich. So I put on my game face, loaded daggers into my words and knifed away.

Nemo me impune lacessit. *

“Go home,” I told him sternly even as he tried to explain himself on his way out. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” True enough, he did come back to formally apologize for his behavior and he’s since stuck to drinking coffee when he’s here.

Agreed, not all alcohol-induced behavior is unwelcome (as if Cyrano friends didn’t already know that). But when it gets to the point that customers are causing trouble, then it doesn’t matter how much money they’re spending. You have to lay down the law or they’ll keep doing the same stupid thing night after night, making life miserable for your other customers. I know it’s not the Filipino way to treat customers as “equals,” but then again I’m of the opinion that part of the problem with Filipino society is that we’re too tolerant, too accommodating and too bloody nice to know when people are walking all over us. No wonder most foreigners think we’re pushovers.

To quote the following business maxim: “Never accept what is unacceptable. Because once you start accepting it, people will start giving you $#@% on a regular basis.”


* Since the fellow asked for Glenfiddich, it occurred to me that anybody who is an advocate of single malt scotch should also know this Latin phrase, which for centuries has been the defiant motto of the whisky loving people of Scotland. Loosely translated, it means, “No one steps on me and gets away with it.”





1. Donna - July 1, 2009

Glad I have not consumed that much alcohol at Cyrano.

Otherwise, you’d probably ask me to go home.

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