Author Topic: Special Snowflake Stories  (Read 5553929 times)

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zyrs

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Re: Special Snowflake Stories
« Reply #27375 on: June 08, 2014, 04:45:07 PM »
A peculiarly British instance of (at least potential) special-snowflakery here, I suppose; connected with an especial British oddity. The traditional way things work in British pubs is that one goes up to the bar (installed at waist / arms level), and orders one's drink(s) there. The bar-person fills the glasses as per request; the customer pays the cost of the drink(s) to the bar-person; then takes the drink(s) to their selected spot in the pub.

A spot which a few customers often select, is right at the bar, with their drinks resting on its level top; they spend their time in the pub, drinking actually at the bar -- usually standing up, sometimes sitting on tall stools. This of course makes it a little difficult for customers who want to order drinks -- which most of them will consume at chairs-at-tables elsewhere in the pub -- to reach the edge of the bar to get the drinks from the bar-persons. The whole thing is rather impractical, and to many, a tad annoying; but universally gets a pass as a bit of characterful time-honoured British strangeness. It is almost always negotiated in a good-humoured way: the drinkers at the bar move aside a little, to let the orderers get to where they need, and do their stuff.

A couple of weeks ago I encountered -- for the first time ever, to the best of my recollection -- an "advance" on this practice, which occasioned raised eyebrows on my part. In a quiet country pub, an oldish couple were sitting on high stools at the bar, eating a fairly elaborate cold lunch. It was not a highly extensive bar; perhaps eight or nine feet long, in two halves joining in the middle at a gentle angle. The couple and their meal were occupying one of the halves in its entirety. Admittedly it was late lunchtime, with few customers; my companion and I were able easily to get our drinks at the unoccupied half of the bar.

Perhaps I'm being too hard on these folk in seeing them as could-be SS's: but, two people being established side by side at the bar, with a meal "in sundry parts", made it in this location, all but impossible for them to move aside at all, to let a drink-orderer reach that part of the bar. One had to wonder: what if a large party had suddenly arrived, all wanting to order drinks -- with half the bar, "to be served at", being totally blocked to them?  Perhaps the lunching couple would have behaved graciously, and inconvenienced themselves in whatever way would have given the newcomers a fair shot at the whole bar. There is an inclination, though, to suspect that if they had been used to exercising consideration and empathy, they would have thought beforehand of the possible turn of events just described; and would have -- as nearly everyone having a meal in a pub, does -- eaten their lunch at a table.  I suppose I should give them the benefit of the doubt; but it is hard not to feel that a traditional oddity by which a degree of inconsiderateness is allowed and consented to, was being taken an unacceptable stage further.

Because there's a definite divide here between places that serve food as their primary business and places that serve alcohol as their primary business, there's only one place that I frequent that has a similar environment to a pub - the bar at the bowling alley where my trivia team plays.  It is primarily a bar, so it doesn't have proper waitstaff, and you either sit at the bar counter and eat and drink, which is perfectly normal, or you order at the bar counter and take your drinks and your food is brought out to you.   It is considered perfectly normal to eat and drink at the bar counter - probably because in restaurants with bars, you can sit at the bar and eat and drink and it doesn't disrupt service because the table orders are handled by waitstaff, and in bars that don't serve food, it's normal to sit at the bar to drink if they provide bar stools, which most do, and people ordering drinks either wedge in between the stools or go to an end of the bar to order.

Most places I have been to with a "order at the bar" setup (all of them in the USA) have a designated area to order drinks from the bar.  If you aren't sitting at a stool  at the bar already you walk to that area, if someone is in front of you you wait in a line, and you order your drinks in that spot.  It is usually very well-marked.

nayberry

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Re: Special Snowflake Stories
« Reply #27376 on: June 08, 2014, 05:08:46 PM »
former barmaid opinion,  if there are seats along the bar then they are perfectly entitled to sit and eat there.
we didn't have stools as the bar would've gotten too crowded so people came up, stood wherever along the bar and ordered drinks/foods/complain that the jukebox wasn't on etc etc.

cabbageweevil

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Re: Special Snowflake Stories
« Reply #27377 on: June 09, 2014, 07:24:17 AM »
In view of the overall sentiments expressed in responses to my post -- am tending to feel that it's perhaps me who am the peevish, difficult character wanting everything to be his way; and that drinking prolongedly, positioned at the bar, is maybe not even a partcularly British thing ! -- and the general "take" seems to be, that I'm being too hard on the poor old pair in question.

While taking on board, the views mentioned above; I'd mildly say in my defence, that a good many fellow-Britons of my acquaintance feel, as I do, that the drinking-at-the-bar and thus making access a bit difficult for those buying drinks at said bar, is annoying (though well below white-hot-rage level) for those who wish just to buy drinks and sit elsewhere in the hostelry. A letter to the editor in the latest issue of the house magazine of one of Britain's pub chains, reads as follows: "The only complaint I have [about your pubs] is the number of customers who, once they have been served, stand at the bar, drinking and talking, while other customers are trying to get served, even when there are tables and chairs begging to be occupied. It is unnecessary and extremely annoying. I have seen customers walking out because of these ignorant people.  Please let it be stopped."

The editor's response was, basically, blandly saying not much; but the just-quoted, would seem to indicate that there are Brits who find the business of consumers of the wares, hogging the bar to consume them there; a good deal more irritating than even my friends and I, do.

123sandy

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Re: Special Snowflake Stories
« Reply #27378 on: June 09, 2014, 07:33:57 AM »
In view of the overall sentiments expressed in responses to my post -- am tending to feel that it's perhaps me who am the peevish, difficult character wanting everything to be his way; and that drinking prolongedly, positioned at the bar, is maybe not even a partcularly British thing ! -- and the general "take" seems to be, that I'm being too hard on the poor old pair in question.

While taking on board, the views mentioned above; I'd mildly say in my defence, that a good many fellow-Britons of my acquaintance feel, as I do, that the drinking-at-the-bar and thus making access a bit difficult for those buying drinks at said bar, is annoying (though well below white-hot-rage level) for those who wish just to buy drinks and sit elsewhere in the hostelry. A letter to the editor in the latest issue of the house magazine of one of Britain's pub chains, reads as follows: "The only complaint I have [about your pubs] is the number of customers who, once they have been served, stand at the bar, drinking and talking, while other customers are trying to get served, even when there are tables and chairs begging to be occupied. It is unnecessary and extremely annoying. I have seen customers walking out because of these ignorant people.  Please let it be stopped."

The editor's response was, basically, blandly saying not much; but the just-quoted, would seem to indicate that there are Brits who find the business of consumers of the wares, hogging the bar to consume them there; a good deal more irritating than even my friends and I, do.

"Ignorant people"???

I've been drinking in British bars for 35 years and people have always stood/sat at the bar without it causing problems. I've also worked in bars and been able to serve people without a problem. When did this become a big thing?

cabbageweevil

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Re: Special Snowflake Stories
« Reply #27379 on: June 09, 2014, 07:50:12 AM »
It has (mildly) irritated me ever since I started going to pubs, on reaching legal drinking age nearly fifty years ago -- I've always been a "get drink at the bar, and go and sit down with it elsewhere in the pub" person, not a "position self at the bar and drink there" one.  I find it a bit annoying to have to manoeuvre and insinuate myself in between the at-the-bar-drinkers, to get that which I seek -- even though the at-the-bar-drinkers are almost always pleasant, and as accommodating as possible, about it. (The problem which I perceive, is difficulty for the customer in getting to the bar; not difficulty for the server.)  I'm beginning to suspect that I, and those who feel the way I do about this issue, are indeed a fairly small and peevish minority...

greencat

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Re: Special Snowflake Stories
« Reply #27380 on: June 09, 2014, 12:43:02 PM »
I think the key difference is people who are *standing* at the bar, meaning that they are not sitting on provided barstools, are probably rude for blocking access.  People who are sitting in provided stools are not rude, as they are using furnishings provided for the business for the intended purpose.

TootsNYC

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Re: Special Snowflake Stories
« Reply #27381 on: June 09, 2014, 12:49:20 PM »
Quote
One had to wonder: what if a large party had suddenly arrived, all wanting to order drinks -- with half the bar, "to be served at", being totally blocked to them?  Perhaps the lunching couple would have behaved graciously, and inconvenienced themselves in whatever way would have given the newcomers a fair shot at the whole bar. There is an inclination, though, to suspect that if they had been used to exercising consideration and empathy, they would have thought beforehand of the possible turn of events just described; and would have -- as nearly everyone having a meal in a pub, does -- eaten their lunch at a table.  I suppose I should give them the benefit of the doubt; but it is hard not to feel that a traditional oddity by which a degree of inconsiderateness is allowed and consented to, was being taken an unacceptable stage further.

I confess I am a bit put off by the idea that this couple is being "dinged" for something they haven't even done.

The pub was nearly empty--there was plenty of space. It's completely not accurate, and maybe not even appropriate, to assign them rudeness that they haven't even demonstrated.

It's quite plausible that they wouldn't have spread out so far if the pub had been crowded. It's also quite plausible that if someone needed to come up to order a drink, they'd have budged over in a friendly manner.

Instead, you're assuming that they wouldn't? That they're rude?

If the pub folks wanted them to eat at a table, they'd have suggested it.
For -you- to judge that they are rude for wanting to eat at the bar is setting off my "excuse me for living" warning light.
    Remember that thread about "things that seem Special Snowflake but aren't"? Why should these people be required to eat at a table for the benefit of people who aren't even in the pub?

Mergatroyd

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Re: Special Snowflake Stories
« Reply #27382 on: June 09, 2014, 02:08:41 PM »
In view of the overall sentiments expressed in responses to my post -- am tending to feel that it's perhaps me who am the peevish, difficult character wanting everything to be his way; and that drinking prolongedly, positioned at the bar, is maybe not even a partcularly British thing ! -- and the general "take" seems to be, that I'm being too hard on the poor old pair in question.

While taking on board, the views mentioned above; I'd mildly say in my defence, that a good many fellow-Britons of my acquaintance feel, as I do, that the drinking-at-the-bar and thus making access a bit difficult for those buying drinks at said bar, is annoying (though well below white-hot-rage level) for those who wish just to buy drinks and sit elsewhere in the hostelry. A letter to the editor in the latest issue of the house magazine of one of Britain's pub chains, reads as follows: "The only complaint I have [about your pubs] is the number of customers who, once they have been served, stand at the bar, drinking and talking, while other customers are trying to get served, even when there are tables and chairs begging to be occupied. It is unnecessary and extremely annoying. I have seen customers walking out because of these ignorant people.  Please let it be stopped."

The editor's response was, basically, blandly saying not much; but the just-quoted, would seem to indicate that there are Brits who find the business of consumers of the wares, hogging the bar to consume them there; a good deal more irritating than even my friends and I, do.

"Ignorant people"???

I've been drinking in British bars for 35 years and people have always stood/sat at the bar without it causing problems. I've also worked in bars and been able to serve people without a problem. When did this become a big thing?

Probably when people got so entitled that they said, "heck with tradition, I don't want to bump elbows with my neighbours at the local, they should all have to go sit down so's I can order my round without anyone infringing on my personal bubble!"

For what its worth, people eating at the bar (other than those nuts in the little bowls) is fairly uncommon. I've never had a problem being served even at the most crowded bar, England or anywhere else.

rose red

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Re: Special Snowflake Stories
« Reply #27383 on: June 09, 2014, 02:27:52 PM »
The pickles thread reminded me of a SS story. I know a woman whose entire family is very entitled; always out for number one. One day, she and her sibling went to a restaurant and ordered their meal. The waiter informed them they were running short on pickles and asked that if they don't eat/like pickles, if the cook can leave them off their plates. Their eyes lit up at the opportunity and asked if they'll get a discount. When informed no, they demanded their pickles.....and proceeded to throw them away after they finished their meal since they hate pickles. It's the principle, you know ::). How do I know this story when I was't there? They brag about it.

GSNW

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Re: Special Snowflake Stories
« Reply #27384 on: June 09, 2014, 04:04:29 PM »
I have a pair of cousins (I think technically third cousins) that I grew up close to but were raised with much different priorities than I was.  At our other cousin's wedding, these two (Roger and Rory, let's say), were ushers.  This was a FANCY PANTS wedding, I'm guessing the total tab was in the mid six figures.  Roger and Rory returned from wedding party pictures quite disgusted.  Rory mentioned he did not like the groomsmen. When I asked why, he replied, "They are so... nouveau riche."  R&R aren't exactly Rockefellers, their granddad (my great uncle) made large sums of money working hard for many, many years.  Rory and I were 21 at the time, Roger 19.  They spent the rest of the pretty awesome reception turning their noses up at everything.

A few months ago, Roger texted to let me know he would be in my city, popular party destination.  Roger wanted to know if I could help him with "hookups with club peeps for VIP entry."  Roger was VERY put out when I explained that, as a 33 year old teacher I know nothing about or having to do with club peeps.  Even in my 20s I did not spend any time at reserved tables poppin' bottles.  Roger was further annoyed that I declined asking around to the rest of my local friends for any available hookups.  I am a poor concierge.

bloo

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Re: Special Snowflake Stories
« Reply #27385 on: June 09, 2014, 04:52:01 PM »
I have a pair of cousins (I think technically third cousins) that I grew up close to but were raised with much different priorities than I was.  At our other cousin's wedding, these two (Roger and Rory, let's say), were ushers.  This was a FANCY PANTS wedding, I'm guessing the total tab was in the mid six figures.  Roger and Rory returned from wedding party pictures quite disgusted.  Rory mentioned he did not like the groomsmen. When I asked why, he replied, "They are so... nouveau riche."  R&R aren't exactly Rockefellers, their granddad (my great uncle) made large sums of money working hard for many, many years.  Rory and I were 21 at the time, Roger 19.  They spent the rest of the pretty awesome reception turning their noses up at everything.

A few months ago, Roger texted to let me know he would be in my city, popular party destination.  Roger wanted to know if I could help him with "hookups with club peeps for VIP entry."  Roger was VERY put out when I explained that, as a 33 year old teacher I know nothing about or having to do with club peeps.  Even in my 20s I did not spend any time at reserved tables poppin' bottles.  Roger was further annoyed that I declined asking around to the rest of my local friends for any available hookups.  I am a poor concierge.



Even in my 20s I did not spend any time at reserved tables poppin' bottles...I am a poor concierge.

Love it! ;D

Something tells me you could have a boatload of stories about R & R.

jedikaiti

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Re: Special Snowflake Stories
« Reply #27386 on: June 09, 2014, 05:20:30 PM »
I have a pair of cousins (I think technically third cousins) that I grew up close to but were raised with much different priorities than I was.  At our other cousin's wedding, these two (Roger and Rory, let's say), were ushers.  This was a FANCY PANTS wedding, I'm guessing the total tab was in the mid six figures.  Roger and Rory returned from wedding party pictures quite disgusted.  Rory mentioned he did not like the groomsmen. When I asked why, he replied, "They are so... nouveau riche."  R&R aren't exactly Rockefellers, their granddad (my great uncle) made large sums of money working hard for many, many years.  Rory and I were 21 at the time, Roger 19.  They spent the rest of the pretty awesome reception turning their noses up at everything.

A few months ago, Roger texted to let me know he would be in my city, popular party destination.  Roger wanted to know if I could help him with "hookups with club peeps for VIP entry."  Roger was VERY put out when I explained that, as a 33 year old teacher I know nothing about or having to do with club peeps.  Even in my 20s I did not spend any time at reserved tables poppin' bottles.  Roger was further annoyed that I declined asking around to the rest of my local friends for any available hookups.  I am a poor concierge.



Even in my 20s I did not spend any time at reserved tables poppin' bottles...I am a poor concierge.

Love it! ;D

Something tells me you could have a boatload of stories about R & R.

Please... R&R would never be seen on a mere boat! It must be a proper yacht!
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GSNW

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Re: Special Snowflake Stories
« Reply #27387 on: June 09, 2014, 09:22:57 PM »
It's a sign of how R&R were raised, unfortunately.  Their mother (Caroline) and mine are quite close, which I can't entirely figure out but it's not really my business.  My mom was not thrilled when I pledged a national sorority in college, and when she told Caroline, Caroline could not bubble enough about how "prestigious" this group was and how proud and excited my mom must be. 

Now, there is nothing generally wrong with being Greek and I'm not trying to get down on it (since I obviously saw some merit there at some point), but it was funny that Caroline thought this should be the pinnacle achievement of my college career and was really disappointed that my mom didn't take immense pride in this "accomplishment."


cabbageweevil

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Re: Special Snowflake Stories
« Reply #27388 on: June 10, 2014, 04:43:38 AM »
Quote
One had to wonder: what if a large party had suddenly arrived, all wanting to order drinks -- with half the bar, "to be served at", being totally blocked to them?  Perhaps the lunching couple would have behaved graciously, and inconvenienced themselves in whatever way would have given the newcomers a fair shot at the whole bar. There is an inclination, though, to suspect that if they had been used to exercising consideration and empathy, they would have thought beforehand of the possible turn of events just described; and would have -- as nearly everyone having a meal in a pub, does -- eaten their lunch at a table.  I suppose I should give them the benefit of the doubt; but it is hard not to feel that a traditional oddity by which a degree of inconsiderateness is allowed and consented to, was being taken an unacceptable stage further.

I confess I am a bit put off by the idea that this couple is being "dinged" for something they haven't even done.

The pub was nearly empty--there was plenty of space. It's completely not accurate, and maybe not even appropriate, to assign them rudeness that they haven't even demonstrated.

It's quite plausible that they wouldn't have spread out so far if the pub had been crowded. It's also quite plausible that if someone needed to come up to order a drink, they'd have budged over in a friendly manner.

Instead, you're assuming that they wouldn't? That they're rude?

If the pub folks wanted them to eat at a table, they'd have suggested it.
For -you- to judge that they are rude for wanting to eat at the bar is setting off my "excuse me for living" warning light.
    Remember that thread about "things that seem Special Snowflake but aren't"? Why should these people be required to eat at a table for the benefit of people who aren't even in the pub?

OK -- in the light of this post, and of the generally expressed "feeling of the meeting": as regards this particular situation with this couple, I acknowledge that my sentiments were wrong and un-called-for -- I send mental apologies to the pair !  I do maintain that the point of view which holds that a bunch of people monopolising the bar by standing drinking at it, are not being altogether considerate; can be seen as a valid one.  I subscribe to that POV, and it's a bit of a pet peeve of mine; which led me to extend it, erroneously, to a situation re which it was not relevant.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 04:47:45 AM by cabbageweevil »

Winterlight

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Re: Special Snowflake Stories
« Reply #27389 on: June 10, 2014, 12:52:47 PM »
The pickles thread reminded me of a SS story. I know a woman whose entire family is very entitled; always out for number one. One day, she and her sibling went to a restaurant and ordered their meal. The waiter informed them they were running short on pickles and asked that if they don't eat/like pickles, if the cook can leave them off their plates. Their eyes lit up at the opportunity and asked if they'll get a discount. When informed no, they demanded their pickles.....and proceeded to throw them away after they finished their meal since they hate pickles. It's the principle, you know ::). How do I know this story when I was't there? They brag about it.

We were talking in another thread about knowing a friend's spending habits and I said that I wouldn't ask, but if it came up, it might affect my opinion. This would definitely affect my opinion of her- very negatively.
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