Bar Therapy: Session 5 – Check Naming


Do you remember the name of the server or bartender you had last night? Well, good for you. For those of us serving you, it’s nearly impossible to remember the names of the hundreds served on a nightly basis (unless you tip over 100% and/or sleep with us). So, in order to keep our customers straight, you’re either assigned a table and seat number or a descriptive name we made up. Chances are that name is comical (maybe not to you) and somewhat blank-ist.

Look, I’m usually in a hurry when slinging drinks. Finding something descriptive to help me remember what tab is yours can be time-consuming. Would you rather have two dirty martinis or an accurate name like “five-foot-ten man with cropped brown hair, hazel eyes, and a blue polo with a penguin on it and his wife?” Opt for the booze, Suz.

It works both ways, actually. I typically have customers come to the bar and ask me where their server is (as if I’m some fucking aircraft controller back here). I ask which server is there’s and they’ll pause, trying to PC-ify the description:

  • “Um, the mature woman with reddish hair.”
  • “The young, cute guy with a blue shirt.”
  • “I think she’s Mexican. Somthing-eee-ya?”
  • “Fuck if I know. I’ve had three Long Island Iced Teas.”

Whereas most Starbucks baristas are smart enough to avoid writing customer-identifying traits on coffee cups, servers can get away with using risque names on checks because most don’t print. One check I picked up from a server last night was named, “Two Fat Ladies Near the Hot Tub.” Not very nice, was it? A fine name for a future rock band, but not nice. An accurate description (I had no doubt whose check it was), but not nice.

Another check was named “Bald Hairy Guy with Bad Tatt.” Not very nice. I could have picked him out of a massive crowd in seconds. So, it was descriptive, but not nice. Although each of those descriptors is purely objective, they worked. I mean, I’m a hairy monkey. Some would even describe me as furry. Yet, this man-carpet was sure to be a-clogging that pool drain.

Another description was “Asian Couple.” Here in sunny SoCal, we have as many flavors of Asian as empty Old Milwaukee beer cans at a Trump rally. Asians here span everything from Chinese to Philippinese. That description didn’t help me. I fucked with the server, claiming they were of Mongolian descent–technically, Genghisids. She gave me her best like-I-give-two-shits look and reminded me that the margaritas were to be blended.

This is why I either assign customers a number or ask a name when I get the order. I’m not nearly PC enough to describe people properly.

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Author of humorous essays about relationships and lifestyles.