Whether it be a Fortune 500 company or your favorite little Pub; business, big or small, is what fuels today’s economy.

In the past several years, I’ve come to realize that very often it seems that people tend to forget that a bar is a business. We have a product that we purchase and then turn around and sell to you, the consumer. That product is alcohol. In reality, it’s no different than that plate of food you purchased at your favorite restaurant.

Okay, so by now your probably wondering where it is that I’m going with this. Well, as a bartender, I get pretty tired of being asked for a “free” drink. Nothing is ever “free.” Someone is paying for that drink. A great deal of establishments offer “comps” to their bartenders, which means that ultimately the bar owner is paying. Other establishments don’t offer these “comps” to their bartenders, so it comes out of the bartender’s pocket.

Now, as I’d previously stated, it really bothers me when people ask me for a free drink. In my head I think, “Do you go into a grocery store and ask the checker if you can have that loaf of bread for free? Do you go into a restaurant and ask for a fourth free meal because you’ve purchased three others? Do you go to a department store and ask for something for free because it’s your birthday?”

Just because it’s a cocktail, beer, or glass of wine doesn’t make it something other than a product, yet people assume it is something to be just given away. Another example is when you ask a bartender to stiffen up that drink without expecting to pay. Do you ask for extra cheese at Taco Bell and expect not to pay for it? It’s the same thing.

Now, all that being said, let me just say that as a bartender, there are plenty of instances where I have no problem buying you that drink. If you are a good customer that is always taking care of me, in return, I will buy you a drink on occasion to return the favor, so to speak. If I find out it’s a customer’s birthday, I am always happy to buy a drink or two for your special day. The same goes for anniversaries, graduations, engagements, etc. On the occasion that I work on Christmas Day I’ve even run a tab and bought all my best customers their first drink.

Let me end with this, we are all out there trying to earn a living and we all have bills to pay. It’s great getting things for free, but you’ll have to admit, it’s so much more satisfying when that “freebie” comes as a nice gesture.

Anastasia See all posts by this author
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