How to request without being so demanding.


As I reenter the public service arena by occasionally DJing in local bars, I’m reminded of times when I had more patience and hair. Silly requests would roll off my back. Here are some of my favorites from back in the day:

  • Can you play something good, please?
  • Do you have that song that goes “Buh bun bah … dun dun?”
  • It’s my friend’s birthday. Play a song and dedicate it to her.
  • Do you mind if I look through your records?
  • Play that “Do It In Da Butt” song.
  • Are you the person playing the music here?
  • Can you turn it up/down?
  • Play something we can dance to.
  • Aren’t you going to play any slow songs?
  • If I give you a cassette, can you play a song from it?

One time, I had an obnoxious guido whistle to get my attention when I was obviously mid-mix.

“I’m sorry. Do I look like a dog to you?”
“How can I help you?”
“Oh. Yeah, say, you gots any Snoop up in da hizzy, yo?”
“Thanks, Dog.”

Playing music is supposed to be therapeutic, and often it is. When people (women) get up and start dancing, bobbing their heads, or holding their phones up to Shazam a song, it’s rewarding. I love it when someone says, “Holy shit, I love this song and haven’t heard it forever.” Some of the songs that often get that reaction include:

  • “The Time Warp” by Rocky Horror Picture Show Cast
  • “Some Kind of Wonderful” by Grand Funk Railroad
  • “Ballroom Blitz” by Sweet
  • “Love is the Drug” by Roxy Music
  • “Strawberry Letter 23” by The Brothers Johnson
  • “Desperate But Not Serious” by Adam Ant
  • “The Breaks” by Curtis Blow
  • “Don’t You Want Me” by Human League
  • “True Faith” by New Order

Go ahead, iTunes those fuckers and jump around. Good stuff, right?

Yet, we in the service industry must endure pokes and jabs from drunken critics who seem to forget we’re not standing in the living room serving an audience of one. I don’t want to discourage requests. By all means, you get what you ask for or endure what you’re given. Just be kind and persuasive with your request and see your wishes fulfilled. Try this:

“Hello, Mr. Handsome DJ. First, I would like to compliment you on your music selection and mixing skills. Had I anything less than a twenty, I’d start a generous tip jar for you. Now, if you feel it would fit into the current mood, might I humbly request you play any song from The B-52s? If you feel so inclined I’ll gladly send one of these lovely servers your way with a complimentary beverage of your choice. Toodles.”

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About the author

Author of humorous essays about relationships and lifestyles.