I am a bartender, 34 years experienced in serving drinks to people who become intoxicated when entering the establishment(s) I work at. I must use my experience, common sense and moral thoughts to perform and fulfill my duties at work. Many types of people and ages come in and out of the tavern on a daily basis. With all my experience, working full-time or as a part – time bartender I cannot say I have seen it all. I grew up with very strong moral beliefs in the law and was told I was to follow it.
Officers, public officials drinking their days off and mingling amongst the local residents are an issue for me. Public servants are breaking the law when they pull out their keys to drive home if they are over the legal BAC level in Wisconsin and I fight this dilemma every day. How much to serve the public official or any customer is questioned at all times when I am work and when to say no to someone. I feel it becomes more difficult when deciding how much to serve a public official and quite challenging for me.
I had to learn in Wisconsin that drinking is a big factor in their socializing. Drinking seems to be a part of golf, biking, snowmobiles and, Friday night fish fry’s and after work for many residents. Drinking and its results bring a lot of conversations, discussions, and some heated arguments amongst the general population. There are customers that complain of the laws, the officers on duty and the officers’ motives in the town I reside and work. Police have the duty to pull over anyone suspected of drinking and driving, it’s the law!
Many of my customers have multiple violations from drunk driving and driving after revocation usual follows for the majority of convicted drunk drivers here in Westfield, Wisconsin. The remarks such as; it’s not fair that the cop can drink and not worry or the Judge was drunk but no one pulled him over are what some concerns from the general population in my bar. I pondered these remarks and I wonder how much of this is my responsibility or how much I should be concerned with. I need to do my job and maintain a balance the dilemma of serving the public officials can be somewhat of a challenge.
How much to serve, what topic of conversation to engage in and how much attention to give a public official during the night are thoughts and questions that come from their presence. Customers will watch to see how close I am to the officials. If any customer thinks you are too close then you are what are called a nark. If something happens to a person driving such as an accident the blame can come back to the last bartender who served the person in question. For me I am friends and respect the officials that frequent the bar which makes it hard to minimize their drinking.
Making drinks to light or not fast enough can become an issue in maintaining my position as an employee and keeping the officials happy at the bar. I have chosen to keep a balance by trying to serve responsible, engage in conversation time wise the same as anyone else, and to pour drinks the same as I do for all customers. Basically the choice was to treat all people the same regardless if they are a public official or not. With the decision to treat all customers the same for me is good, I do not over pour or serve anyone that seems to be overly intoxicated.
I also try to find out where they have been prior to entering my work establishment. This tells me the history of the patrons drinking that evening and helps me with deciding if they are too drunk, public official or not. I made the decision contemplating what was important? What was my responsibility to everyone and to me? Ultimately I came to realize that all people are equal and I was the responsible sober person serving alcohol. Serving customers responsibly is my job period. Making friends, thinking who likes me or are they calling me a nark should not be a concern for me or weigh in on my duties.
I took the Wisconsin Alcohol Beverage class, this is required and no where during the four hour course does it say I should worry what people think or say about the responsible server. I have done my job responsibly, I do it well, customers come back and the roads are safe when someone walks out of my establishment. I have balanced the issue of who to serve, how much to serve, and treat everyone as equals. Treating officials as equals can be difficult when it comes to someone who is serving alcohol and the public official take some responsibility and must know their limits when consuming alcohol
Wisconsin Department of Revenue, (2011).Training, Alcohol/Sever, Retrieved from: http://www.revenue.wi.gov/training/index.html
Wisconsin OWI Laws, (2011). Wisconsin OWI Laws & Penalties, Retrieved from: http://www.duiarresthelp.com/states/wisconsin/owi-laws.php