# Piaget Beer GaugeJuly 19, 2012 2:36 PM   Subscribe

The Piaget Beer Gauge - a product to clear up visual misunderstandings about height and volume in American bars.
posted by Greg Nog (193 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

Huh, reminds me of the Seattle Seahawks beer size debacle.

A You Tube video was posted Thursday showing a fan, presumably at a recent Seahawks game at Qwest Field, pouring the contents of a "large" 20 ounce beer into a "small" beer's 16 ounce cup.

All of the liquid poured from the 20 ounce cup fit completely into the 16 ounce cup, to the surprise and outrage of the Seahawks fan.

The 20 ounce beer costs \$1.25 more than the 16 ounce beer. In a nutshell, fans who bought the 16 ounce beer have been getting the same amount of their favorite domestic for less money than the fans who paid more for the 20 ounce.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:40 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I fully support having this problem eradicated, and while I can't think of a better solution, I can't help but think that bringing out this little card and tut-tutting about This beer is deficient in volume by almost precisely 13%! will not solve your immediate problem.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:42 PM on July 19, 2012 [18 favorites]

The 20 ounce beer costs \$1.25 more than the 16 ounce beer. In a nutshell, fans who bought the 16 ounce beer have been getting the same amount of their favorite domestic for less money than the fans who paid more for the 20 ounce.

Did they test to make sure the 16-ounce beer doesn't fit into a 12-ounce cup?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:44 PM on July 19, 2012 [5 favorites]

Bartender (putting glass of beer on bar): "Here you go, that'll be \$4.50"

Customer (takes out Piaget Beer Gauge, measures beer in the glass): "I say, this beer is only 80% of a pint. Take it back and pour me my other 3.2 ounces."

Bartender (taking back beer): "Get the fuck out."
posted by Scientist at 2:44 PM on July 19, 2012 [61 favorites]

The better solution is right on the linked site.

The problem is the design of the standard US pint glass. They actually figured this out in Europe. When you order a 0.3liter or 0.5 liter beer in Europe the glasses have 0.3 liter or 0.5 liter marks etched on them, and the volume of the glass extends past these etch marks.

That isn't going to change though, so stick with the card, why not if it means extra beer for you? Bars are already ridiculous overpriced, especially for the good stuff.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:45 PM on July 19, 2012

I went to college in Scotland, where all the shots and beers are poured either from or into standard vessels. Pint glasses are real pint glasses, and some even have a little line where the pint was.

When I returned to the States, I started handing back beers to American bartenders because they had too much head, or were underpoured by a 1/2 inch or so. I very quickly realized I was pushing my luck.

I want to buy one of these cards. But I think after using one in a bar, you won't have to worry about getting another under-poured beer, because the bartender might not serve you again.
posted by oneironaut at 2:46 PM on July 19, 2012

Man, that "25% missing" photo is like the beer equivalent of that optical illusion where the two shades of gray are exactly the same, in that I cannot fucking believe it until it's demonstrated to me physically, in person, twice.
posted by theodolite at 2:47 PM on July 19, 2012 [11 favorites]

furiousxgeorge: Because getting all petty and pedantic with your bartender is a great way to make sure that you get completely ignored for the rest of the night. Better to simply patronize bars where you know you are going to get properly taken care of, and then take care of the staff properly in return (in the form of generous tips). A relationship like that pays dividends quite quickly, I've found.
posted by Scientist at 2:47 PM on July 19, 2012 [6 favorites]

I don't think a bartender would give a fuck, the owner who will see the profit per keg dropping will though.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:47 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Or you could just drink from the bottle.
posted by jonmc at 2:48 PM on July 19, 2012 [4 favorites]

But I think after using one in a bar, you won't have to worry about getting another under-poured beer, because the bartender might not serve you again.

Or your remaining 25% may not be beer, exactly.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:49 PM on July 19, 2012 [7 favorites]

This gauge is neat and all, but it doesn't address the "cheater pints" that most bars serve.
posted by lost_cause at 2:50 PM on July 19, 2012 [5 favorites]

"Would you mind topping that up for me?" is what I do if a pint appears short.

If they don't oblige, screw them.
posted by knapah at 2:50 PM on July 19, 2012 [6 favorites]

Many US bars stock 15-oz "pint" glasses, so this device is useless.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:50 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Just fucking learn to tip already (or what Scientist said).
posted by cjorgensen at 2:54 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

The bartender would totally give a fuck. You are making more work for them, and treating them with contempt in the bargain. Same goes for people who send back drinks because they're not strong enough or because they weren't made with their particular preferred variant of the recipe. Bartenders in my experience are jaded, cynical people who do not appreciate being fucked around with like that. A good one will take care of you if you take care of them, which means that you tip well, don't complain about the drinks, and don't start shit with the other patrons. They will take care of you in the form of giving you free tastes, listening to your troubles, buying you the occasional shot, letting you play with the Nintendo Wii they keep behind the bar, etc. Not to mention making sure that your drinks show up quickly and are made exactly the way you like them (which, if you are a good customer and they a good bartender, they will eventually get around to asking you about).

Bartenders are a proud and noble race and they don't take kindly to entitled customers telling them that they're doing their job wrong. If they are doing their job wrong, your best recourse is to simply find another bar. Don't sit there telling the bartender how to do their job, which is just a way to make someone's life miserable while simultaneously making everyone else in the bar think that you're a pedantic whiny prick.
posted by Scientist at 2:55 PM on July 19, 2012 [18 favorites]

(I should point out that I posted this not in order to encourage quibbling about frugality in bars, but because I am fascinated by the non-instinctive nature of eyeballing volume measurements. As always, I advocate non-combative drinking and tipping your barkeeps well)
posted by Greg Nog at 2:58 PM on July 19, 2012 [6 favorites]

The bartender would totally give a fuck.

In my experience, working at a bars and visiting a ton of them, they wouldn't. Pulling a tap handle for an extra second to make a customer happy is not a major issue. It's not close to the time commitment of mixing up a new cocktail that has been sent back. I've found most bartenders to be extremely warm, friendly people who are only stingy with the booze because it isn't theirs to give out. Giving the customer what they paid for is not a problem.

The 25% pic is a seriously fucking bad poor, and any bartender should be ashamed of it enough that I would not care if they did get offended.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:00 PM on July 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

a very poor pour.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:01 PM on July 19, 2012

No, no, the actual solution is to become a regular at the place, and then drop by at times when there's virtually no patrons around (say, 5 PM last Sunday) and the bartenders are just kind of hanging out and taking turns crossing to the other side of the bar and having drinks and then you wind up getting some sort of delicious grenadine-based concoction because Cassie made a double but Jon still has to bike home and only wanted a single and then someone makes a reuben and gives you the half they don't eat.

Or just do what knapah said and ask nicely.
posted by kagredon at 3:04 PM on July 19, 2012 [4 favorites]

Pours are fucked from the giddyup in most US bars — a decent beer needs a bit of head, and if you're getting enough head on most beers, you're getting under poured by volume.
posted by klangklangston at 3:04 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Or your remaining 25% may not be beer, exactly.

<beersnob>With the average American beer, who could tell the difference?</beersnob>
posted by me & my monkey at 3:05 PM on July 19, 2012 [6 favorites]

The Honest Pint Project advocates for bringing a measuring cup to the bar, decanting the served pint into it, then photographing the settled beer to show the measured volume and identifying details of the location.

Their website has an index of "Certified Purveyors of Honest Pints", with submitted photos.
posted by Prince_of_Cups at 3:05 PM on July 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

Scientist: Bartender (taking back beer): "Get the fuck out."
oneironaut: I want to buy one of these cards. But I think after using one in a bar, you won't have to worry about getting another under-poured beer, because the bartender might not serve you again.
shakespeherian: Or your remaining 25% may not be beer, exactly.
This is why I believe pretty much the majority of people in the service industry are borderline sociopaths. Skimming off the top and defrauding your customers? Spitting in, tampering with, or outright poisoning the food because someone wasn't sufficiently kowtowing to your presumed greatness? Calling out the internet lynch mobs on an innocent stranger in another state because your rudeness to your customers meant they didn't tip you? Expecting 20% as standard tips, "just because"- even when your service is shitty?

In the twisted, coke-addled brains of the service industry people, these are all justifiable acts. And somehow, we accept this, we say it's okay... somehow. Or we accept it as a fact of life, like "Hey, they may put visine in my food and cause me to be hospitalized, because they're having a bad day and I didn't order my food in a sufficiently prompt and articulate manner", as if that isn't something that shouldn't be seen as a felony deserving of a long prison sentence.

Of course, the stock response will be "Ah, hincandenza, I know your type- you're a terrible customer, and we hate your kind when they show up at bars!". Which is silly: I tip very well at my regular places (25%+), I don't cause any hassle, am exceedingly polite and well-mannered, I'm a good conversationalist without being overly chatty or annoying, and in general am a model customer and patron. I get free food and drinks constantly, I almost never pay full price, I get great service, and am treated very well. This happens at every bar and restaurant I'm a regular at, without fail.

But I wouldn't trust a single one of them any further than I could throw them.
posted by hincandenza at 3:08 PM on July 19, 2012 [12 favorites]

what
posted by kagredon at 3:10 PM on July 19, 2012 [18 favorites]

Their website has an index of "Certified Purveyors of Honest Pints", with submitted photos.

aaaaaand is only two links up from the "Pictures of Guys Who Got Their Faces Punched in and their Measuring Cup Parked Up Their Strada-Chocolada"
posted by jpolchlopek at 3:11 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I just realized that I don't even go to bars where, if I have a complaint (which is rare), the bartender wouldn't fall all over him/herself to fix it, and that must mean that I'm hanging out in better places than I used to or that I am easy to please when drinking. Probably a bit of both.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:12 PM on July 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

Few people realize that the cup of beer is a much better deal than the bowl of beer.
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:12 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

they're doing their job wrong.

Short-pouring, is, by definition, doing the job wrong.

Won't help at the places that disclaim 'We pour 14-oz pints' or whatever that bullshit weasel phrase is.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:13 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

This threatens to dehydrate bartenders across the country as they expectorate 3.2 ounces a pour.
posted by yerfatma at 3:16 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

It amazes me how folks like hincandenza have to explain how they go out of their way to be a model customer just to have someone else do their job. Pour the drink, take the money, appreciate the tip and serve the next customer. Argh - I know why I dislike going to bars.
posted by nostrada at 3:19 PM on July 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

I was once informed (by a non-beer drinker, as it happened) that the typical pint glasses we see in the US technically hold less than a pint and that only bars serving in "pounder" glasses are serving true pints. I tried to verify this with a bartender, later, but he got enraged and refused to even dignify the question. I still don't know if there's any truth in what I was told.
posted by christopherious at 3:19 PM on July 19, 2012

My usual tactic is to say nothing and hope they don't do it a second time. It's surprisingly effective. Sometimes.
posted by tommasz at 3:23 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

I like how easy it is to figure out if someonE has ever worked as a server or bartender.
posted by griphus at 3:24 PM on July 19, 2012 [9 favorites]

It's our twisted, coke-addled brains, I guess.
posted by elizardbits at 3:25 PM on July 19, 2012 [12 favorites]

I ain't drinking out of those pint glasses. I see the way they "wash" those. I only order bottles. I've even had bartenders try to pour me shots in shot glasses they just took off the bar from another customer. Yeah , I drank it, but I had to, it was free.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:25 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

The Seattle Seahawks beer size debacle is outright fraud on a grand and deliberate scale. The 14 oz falsie pints is deceptive, but as long as they're not claiming it to hold more than 14 oz it becomes more a case of "pay attention to what you're drinking and don't go back if you don't like it".

But I haven't had any experience of a bartender short pouring my beers as part of some "screw the customer" plan. Not even at bars I'm not a regular at (bars I visit after 1AM on NY trips excluded because I question my judgement at that point). If you enjoy the experience and feel you've gotten what you paid for, tip your bartender well and keep coming back. If not, find another bar or drink at home. But please don't pull out a cheap little card and think that's going to be your barroom Norma Rae moment - it's not going to end the way you want it to.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 3:28 PM on July 19, 2012

Ad hominem - they are not getting paid to wash glasses, but pour drinks. And you can't beat free
posted by nostrada at 3:28 PM on July 19, 2012

Bartenders are a proud and noble race and they don't take kindly to entitled customers telling them that they're doing their job wrong.

Yes, the customers are entitled. They are entitled to receive what they paid for.

Make it snappy and I'll give you a fine tip.
posted by Tanizaki at 3:29 PM on July 19, 2012 [4 favorites]

furiousxgeorge: I bow to your superior experience, but with the caveat that perhaps there are regional differences in culture. Bar culture here in New Orleans is a bit of a strange beast, especially on the lower end of the scale (which is where I usually drink, by both necessity and preference). The bartenders I've been friends with (and there are several; all good, kind, loving people if perhaps a bit burnt-out by years of below-minimum-wage subsistence work wherein one's ability to support oneself financially rests on the whims of a customer base which is by definition inebriated) definitely notice when customers are especially picky, and would definitely take offense to someone going so far as to measure a pint with a special gauge because they didn't believe that they were doing their job right. When you spend your day being treated like crap by drunks (not most patrons of course, but it's a regular occurance) your pride has a tendency to be a bit raw, you know?

Which brings me to hincandenza's, um, statement. I'm going to try to ramp down my own rhetoric because I don't want this thread to turn into a big fight and I feel like the tone of my earlier comments kind of pushed things in the wrong direction (sorry) but it's not so much that service industry people feel as though they should be treated like gods as that they feel like they should be treated like humans. We are not there for customers (and managers!) to hit on, insult, belittle, condescend to, ignore, and demand things from. We are there to help you figure out what you need, make sure you get it, and make you feel taken care of as best as possible. We are typically paid close to or often well below minimum wage (getting good tips is not as good as getting good pay – it's not stable and it makes you feel disempowered) to do this job, which is admittedly not difficult but is often dehumanizing.

Service industry workers are expected to be at the whim of both management and customers. They spend their entire shift at the bottommost social strata of their environment, and are frequently treated in ways that make this all too clear. hincandenza, I applaud you for treating people well as it sounds like you absolutely do – it sounds like the service staff who are familiar with you appreciate this and take extra good care of you for this, as they should. It's often just as much about getting an extra tip (although that's honestly the main thing usually) as it is about dealing with a customer who treats you with respect. It's the service industry. We are servants – for the time that you are present in our place of employment, we are your servants. Many of us do not want to be servants, are not naturally suited to service, and find it especially psychically damaging to be forced unwillingly (by dint of needing to support ourselves and having, for whatever reason, no other options) to be servants for poor wages, no benefits, and zero job stability.

That is why it makes all the difference when a customer is nice or not. That is why we get snotty when we are poorly treated, and will often not hesitate to throw people out when we get the chance and think they deserve it. Yes, there are other shitty jobs that aren't in the service industry, but none of them are so common – there are millions and millions of people in this country alone doing these jobs, taking shit with a smile for little pay and no prospect of advancement, that the service industry milieu has a common experience shared by a significant percentage of the population.

OK, glad to get that off my chest. I hope that nobody was personally insulted, least of all hincandenza who sounds like a stand-up customer that anybody would be glad to deal with. Now I am off to my very last ever shift at my service industry job, which I have been working for the last five years with no raise in the last three and who shorted me on my anniversary bonus to the tune of \$400 this year but which is, nevertheless, one of the best service industry gigs in the French Quarter and which I have been lucky to have.
posted by Scientist at 3:29 PM on July 19, 2012 [18 favorites]

Just fucking learn to tip already (or what Scientist said).

Do you pre-tip for your drinks or something?
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 3:40 PM on July 19, 2012

Count me among those who read the linked page and thought "this thing should be called the nose-breaker because that's what its use will likely result it".
posted by chaff at 3:42 PM on July 19, 2012

result in
posted by chaff at 3:42 PM on July 19, 2012

Yay another internet referendum on service workers!

YOU. THE COKE-ADDLED ONE. BRING ME POPCORN.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:42 PM on July 19, 2012 [22 favorites]

We are there to help you figure out what you need, make sure you get it, and make you feel taken care of as best as possible.

Which includes pouring the full pint that a customer has paid for, and if you have failed to do so, take that comment in good stride and make good on it, not order people to fuck off or get butthurt because an "entitled customer told them they're doing their job wrong."

It doesn't matter who tells you you're doing your job wrong if you're doing your job wrong.

Call 'em entitled or spoiled or the Queen of England if you want, but if you're shortchanging people on their drinks, you're doing your job wrong.

If your reaction to somebody saying "hey, you shortchanged me on my drink" is to puff out your chest and say HOW DARE YOU SIR PISTOLS AT DAWN, you're doing your job wrong.

Dress it up with fancy tales of the rough-and-tumble world of the service industry all you want, but I've done my time in the trenches as well, and at the end of the day, if somebody's getting ripped off, you're doing your job wrong.

If you can't handle being told that, I think it's probably a very good thing this is your last night in the service industry.
posted by Shepherd at 3:43 PM on July 19, 2012 [16 favorites]

Has anyone actually experienced this problem? I haven't. I kinda wish i didn't have to be half drunk carrying a brimming glass through a bar all the time.
posted by cmoj at 3:43 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Related to the height-vs-volume thing in the OP - Which is greater, the height or circumference of a glass?
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:44 PM on July 19, 2012

Ad hominem - they are not getting paid to wash glasses, but pour drinks. And you can't beat free

I play on bar pool and dart leagues. I usually get treated worse than normal customers because they know I will be back due to whatever league I am playin on. I complain about soap in my drink they pour a new drink in the same glass. Complain my diet coke is flat I get half tonic next time. I get ignored until all the real customers are served, they know I can't leave until I play my matches. I get asked to do favors, like go get change from the store down the street, take out garbage, call regulars to find out why they are not at the bar, diagnose why WiFi isn't working. The upsides are that I don't really have to pay, even if they charge me I tell them to put it on my tab and I get to stay while they count money and lock up and can take my drink to go. They also make sure to buy whatever I drink, so I don't have to worry about them running out of blue curacao or whatever bizarre thing I am drinking that week, if they do run out of lemon pucker or whatever I can just brink it from home.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:47 PM on July 19, 2012

And hey, this is probably an uproariously stupid question, but does anyone know why and when it was decided that the average drinking glass should have a smaller circumference at the bottom than at the top? Was it a conspiracy on the part of early innkeepers to cause more spills?
posted by chaff at 3:49 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ad hominem if I'm pouring free draft down your throat all night and you're the last thing I see before I lock up, then you're not a customer - you're a volunteer barback.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:51 PM on July 19, 2012 [11 favorites]

why and when it was decided that the average drinking glass should have a smaller circumference at the bottom than at the top?

Seems to me that this way, gravity works to help keep the glass in your hand. If the opening were smaller than the base, you would have to grip it pretty hard to keep it from falling.
posted by wikipedia brown boy detective at 3:53 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Makes it possible to stack the glasses, chaff.
posted by jamaro at 3:53 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

also, stacking.
posted by wikipedia brown boy detective at 3:54 PM on July 19, 2012

Hi, bartender here.

A thing that I've been experimenting with lately on a random sample size with generally positive results is very kindly, very playfully, and with a genuine smile, withholding service for just a moment from anyone who forgets to say please while prompting them to say it.

Yes, it's a little childish. Yes, I'm probably gonna get some flack from y'all.

But goddamn does it feel good to get "pleases" and "thank yous" instead of "let me gets" and "gimmes". I am not part of an apparatus, nor a robot designed to get you beer. I am a human being and you should give me the courtesy that I give you -- look me in the eye and mind your manners.
posted by sibboleth at 3:54 PM on July 19, 2012 [10 favorites]

Here's my worst service industry story. I've mentioned it here before I think. One time when I worked the graveyard shift at WaWa this tremendous asshole, not even drunk like most of the assholes you got on that shift, ordered a hoagie with extra salt. As a sandwich professional I added and appropriate amount of salt for the order. The next day he complained to the manager that I had intentionally tried to poison him by adding too much salt to his sandwich. Total dick, and it's the type of person who deserves some spit in his food, though of course I would never do that and have never seen anyone do that or anything similar in all of my years in service industries. So yeah, I get how fucked up it can be.

However, had I shortchanged him by not giving him extra salt? Then I would be the asshole. Just because it's a tough, low paying job doesn't excuse not doing right.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:54 PM on July 19, 2012

I knew there would be at least one answer that would make me feel dumb, and here are two right off the bat. Thanks!
posted by chaff at 3:55 PM on July 19, 2012

I like beer in a bottle better anyway. At least now I have an excuse (rather than the truth: that I think your glasses are insufficiently clean).
posted by 2bucksplus at 3:55 PM on July 19, 2012

If I order a beer, just get it for me when you get a chance. If you're swamped because some stag party dudebros just ordered 9 jagerbombs and they're pissed because you mixed the red bull with the jager instead of putting them in different glasses and are making you do it over, whatever. I'll just wait patiently until those guys go back to their table, I don't really care.

Just fill the glass like you were pouring it for yourself. It might be a little short sometimes, it might be overflowing sometimes, I don't care. I just want a damned beer. I'll give you at least an extra dollar every time you bring me one.

Problem solved.
posted by King Bee at 3:55 PM on July 19, 2012 [9 favorites]

Oh Jesus, no, I'm not telling you please. You will get a thank you.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:55 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yeah I guess, I even volunteer to bring up cases so I can smoke in the basement when it is cold out. I need a healthier hobby I guess.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:55 PM on July 19, 2012

Pour the drink, take the money, appreciate the tip and serve the next customer. Argh - I know why I dislike going to bars.

I can see why too: happiness at a bar requires not prejudging people and just enjoying whomever you are around as best you can. But please, let's worry about getting shorted an ounce, because that would never even out in the long run.
posted by yerfatma at 3:56 PM on July 19, 2012

I like beer in a bottle better anyway.

I don't tell you my troubles.
posted by yerfatma at 3:56 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh Jesus, no, I'm not telling you please. You will get a thank you.

posted by King Bee at 3:58 PM on July 19, 2012 [5 favorites]

I'd like to say that this thread makes me feel that much better about not drinking. You don't have these problems with iced tea.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:59 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Man, people are making going to a bar a lot harder than it needs to be. It''s really pretty simple: be a good person and bring your money. Extra points if you have a pretty good idea of what you want to drink when the bartender asks. And if I'm at the bar, please - don't play Journey on the jukebox.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 4:00 PM on July 19, 2012

The only reason anyone can afford to be coke-addled is if some moron is paying 25% tips! I SAY CUT 'EM OFF
posted by shakespeherian at 4:03 PM on July 19, 2012

Maybe this only applies in the US, but let me give you a piece of advice: if you're worrying about getting screwed by people in the service industry, there's a good chance you're looking in the wrong direction.
posted by yerfatma at 4:03 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

But I think after using one in a bar, you won't have to worry about getting another under-poured beer, because the bartender might not serve you again.

Or your remaining 25% may not be beer, exactly.

It used to be beer.
posted by madcaptenor at 4:05 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Rereading my comment above, it makes me sound like I'm being an asshole or sarcastic or something. I'm being earnest. I don't really care. Don't rush yourself and get stressed out on my account. I usually order by saying something like "could I get a \$BEER_OF_CHOICE when you get a chance, please? Thanks."

I'm not really going to give two shits if I end up waiting horror of horrors a whole extra 3 minutes while you take care of something else. I'll still tip you.

I don't think people like me are in that much of a minority. Most of us understand service jobs can be demanding and at times degrading. Just, whenever you're free, get me a beer.

Then again, if I ordered a beer ten minutes ago, and now you're over by the jukebox flirting with some gal who's only talking to you so she can get free drinks, then fuck you. Pour me a damned beer already.
posted by King Bee at 4:08 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was once informed (by a non-beer drinker, as it happened) that the typical pint glasses we see in the US technically hold less than a pint and that only bars serving in "pounder" glasses are serving true pints

Hi, Bar owner here.
You can order "pint" glasses in many different sizes differing by half ounce increments . It is pretty difficult for the average drinker to tell the difference between the 16 oz pint and say, for example, the highly popular (with bar owners) 14.5 ounce glass. Different bars order different glasses. From my experience, the more corporate or more investors the bar has, the greater the likelihood of having a smaller pint glass. Just an opinion, though.

This is why I believe pretty much the majority of people in the service industry are borderline sociopaths.

You don't seriously believe that the majority of people in the service industry would actually do the nefarious actions you referred to, do you? You understand that those stories you hear so much about are mostly stories, right?
I find it difficult to believe that if you really do feel that way about the people who are serving you that you are quite the upstanding wonderful generous customer that you say you are. Your disdain must be leaking through.
posted by newpotato at 4:11 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

There was an effort a couple of years ago to get an "honest pint" law* passed in Oregon.
Unfortunately it was killed by the State Senate.

It's a crying shame that ground zero of the craft beer movement lets you get away with cheater pints.
I keep hoping it'll come around again on the next election cycle, but I've not seen anything about it for a while.

*And it wasn't even a mandatory thing. If you poured real pints, you got a cool decal. That's it.
posted by madajb at 4:16 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I think the correct solution if this happens is a combination of what knapah and Scientist suggests.

The first time it happens, tip well and say thank you. The second time it happens in the same night, say (without a touch of hostility or patronisation in your voice): "Hey, could you top this up for me."

Then tip well and say thank you.

the astute may notice that this exercise at no point requires pulling out a ruler
posted by 256 at 4:16 PM on July 19, 2012

Has anyone actually experienced this problem?

Definitely. Pouring a full pint with head and then it settling down to what is probably 14 oz pour is practically normal.

Heck, just pour a 12 oz bottle beer into a pint glass and it seems pretty full.
posted by smackfu at 4:17 PM on July 19, 2012

This thread makes me very glad to live in a society where I'm not expected to give extra money to someone who has just given me less beer than I am being charged for. Actually, I don't think I've ever tipped someone for pouring beer. What a bizarre social dynamic that must create.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 4:23 PM on July 19, 2012 [6 favorites]

jonmc:
Or you could just drink from the bottle.
If I'm drinking beer from a bottle, I'm doing it on my couch (or in my bed).
posted by Brian Puccio at 4:25 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

When I read A Thousand Baited Hooks' comment and then 256's comment my head explodes. Having lived in Australia and Europe, I totally agree. You round up to the next dollar if you feel like it.
posted by nostrada at 4:25 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Why do people think they're entitled to 16 oz. in the first place, unless specifically so advertised?
posted by eugenen at 4:26 PM on July 19, 2012

For a long time I thought that most servers and bartenders actually made the legally-required \$2-something/hour they're supposed to get before tips, but it turns out I am wrong. Most only get tips.

Tip generously, folks!
posted by griphus at 4:29 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you have a good relationship with your bartender, the amount of free booze he gives you should make up for any penny-ante bullshit like this.
posted by jonmc at 4:29 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Also color me absolutely confounded by the amount of internalized victimization an individual must carry in their soul to, by default, imagine your everyday bartender as some sort of Snidley Whiplashian moustache-twirler who can only become erect when they underpour a beer.
posted by griphus at 4:31 PM on July 19, 2012 [15 favorites]

If you have a good relationship with your bartender, the amount of free booze he gives you should make up for any penny-ante bullshit like this.

Even a normal customer will get 1/5 drinks free but they have to have 5 drinks to get it. That is why you want to elusive 1st round buyback. One of the bars I go to (now closed for renovations) has a page in the employee rule book listing which regulars get the first round free. The first time you get your 1st round on the house is a magical day.

Fuck the internet, I'm hitting the bar.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:37 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

"Why do people think they're entitled to 16 oz. in the first place, unless specifically so advertised?"

Because it's called a fucking pint, man. Same way as I'd complain if I bought a gallon and got 120 ounces.
posted by klangklangston at 4:37 PM on July 19, 2012 [7 favorites]

How can this thread not be full of British people pointing out how utterly, completely superior the UK licensing law is on this point, and that it has been so for 50 years?

Because we all just got back from the pub a bit pissed, that's why.
posted by cromagnon at 4:38 PM on July 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

eugenen: Why do people think they're entitled to 16 oz. in the first place, unless specifically so advertised?

Er, because people are ordering pints and a pint is 16 oz (in the US)?
posted by gilrain at 4:39 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is why I believe pretty much the majority of people in the service industry are borderline sociopaths.

they serve the public - and i swear to god, serving the public is enough to push ANYONE into borderline sociopathy

but you're not paying for a beer, you're paying for the ambiance, entertainment, social opportunities, whatever

you want a good deal on alcohol, buy it at a store and drink it at home
posted by pyramid termite at 4:41 PM on July 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

Er, because people are ordering pints and a pint is 16 oz (in the US)?

Are they? Just because I don't drink doesn't mean I don't go to bars, and people who are not engaged in overt acts of Britishness don't order a pint. They order a beer.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:43 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you ask the bartender what the beer is served in, I doubt they say "beer glass".
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:44 PM on July 19, 2012

I'm the only one who walks in, orders a pint of bitter, and then moodily discusses the case with Sergeant Lewis?
posted by gilrain at 4:46 PM on July 19, 2012 [6 favorites]

Seems to me like you can only get shorted on the first drink at a place, right? After that you know what the glasses are and what the pour is. So you know what you're buying ahead of time. Maybe you're buying "pints" that are 13 oz, but at that point you know it, and maybe that 13 oz "pint" is cheaper than the honest pint next door. But either way you know it.

Still, I hardly ever specifically even order a "pint." A "glass" usually.

As for saying "please," I think that's reversed. It's the establishment that wants my money which ought to be saying "please buy." I'll often say it out of habit, and I'll invariably say "thank you," but if I catch on that a bartender is delaying because he wants me to "say the magic word" I'll be drinking elsewhere.
posted by tyllwin at 4:47 PM on July 19, 2012

Has anyone actually experienced this problem? I haven't. I kinda wish i didn't have to be half drunk carrying a brimming glass through a bar all the time.

Seriously. Next time I'm out with enough people that we grab a table, I'm going to try to remember to take the first few sips at the bar, because apparently I've been sloshing out 13% of my beer all this time.
posted by kagredon at 4:47 PM on July 19, 2012

Come to think of it, I've also never ordered nor seen advertised "a pint" outside of those faux-Irish pub places.

Second, I'm still not seeing anyone claim to have actually had this problem.
posted by cmoj at 4:49 PM on July 19, 2012

Meh. Just do what I do ... Carry a graduated cylinder with you when you go to the pub.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 4:50 PM on July 19, 2012

If you ask the bartender what the beer is served in, I doubt they say "beer glass".

No, they say, "What do you think? A glass."
posted by cmoj at 4:51 PM on July 19, 2012

Sounds like most of the people commenting in this thread have never worked in a bar. Also, if an inch of head on a beer is giving you that much outrage, I pity you, what a terrible existence you must lead.

I work at a craft beer bar and we don't have pints. Our beers either come in a large or small size (no specific ounce advertised) or Belgians and Belgian styles are a 10 oz. pour into a 14 oz. glass so there will be a lot of head (which is the way those beers are supposed to be served). Our menu even states that we price the beers out to account for the amount of head that is supposed to be on a draft of craft beer. We still get the occasional asshole who rages at the amount of head on his beer. We will actually get in trouble with management if we do not pour beers with the proper amount of head. Now if someone asks me nicely to top of their beer, I will and I don't mind doing it.

I agree that if a bar advertises 16 oz pints, then you should get 16 oz of beer but around where I live, I don't see the word pint or 16 oz advertised. Usually it will be just one price listed and the beer comes in a pint style glass (which a bar owner stated can vary according to ounce size). Just because a beer is served in a pint style glass, doesn't mean you're entitled to 16 oz. of beer. If the bar advertises pints or 16 oz. specifically, then you are entitled to that amount of beer.

Also, if you feel so inclined, contact the Department of Agriculture if you feel like a bar is false advertising their amounts. I used to work in a place where someone did just that and an employee from DoA came out to follow up on the claim. First they checked to see where we advertizes the specific amount, then they measured the glass. Of course the two didn't match up and the place I worked at had to change their glass to match the advertised amount or just change the advertised amount (they went with the latter).
posted by MaryDellamorte at 4:53 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

but at that point you know it

Part of the weird thing about the glass height vs. width problem is that people overestimate the importance of height when estimating volume. Hence, the gauge.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:53 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

OK, I get that, but surely you know if you feel like you paid a fair price for the amount you drank?
posted by tyllwin at 4:57 PM on July 19, 2012

A few years ago I went through a bit of a drinking phase... Anyhow, I quickly learned to drink only draft beer and TIP THE EVERLOVING FUCK out of the bartender, like literally 100%+, at any place I knew I'd be frequenting. Within a couple weeks, I was paying for 1 out of 5 beers -- and tipping 2 beers' worth.... soooo yay 2 free beers!
posted by LordSludge at 4:58 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

How can this thread not be full of British people pointing out how utterly, completely superior the UK licensing law is on this point, and that it has been so for 50 years?

Because we all just got back from the pub a bit pissed, that's why.
I know that pubs must use either pint or half pint glasses and have them certified as such--it used to be with a crown but I'm not so sure now as it looks like plain text in a box. Though how long has the pint line itself been on glasses? It can't be fifty years, as I seem to have in mind that they were new 20 years ago. Either way, I drink stout*, so the head is often (though not always) much flatter and far more creamy, which is part of the experience.

(And I'll have you know that I am not pissed. I didn't nearly fall off my bike more than twice!)

*Or porter, but pubs don't ever seem to have that. Why not? Prejudice, I say! Porterism.
posted by Jehan at 4:59 PM on July 19, 2012

people who are not engaged in overt acts of Britishness don't order a pint

What? Everyone orders a "pint."

I mean, I hope they do. Everyone in Toronto orders a pint and I ordered plenty of pints during the three years I lived in Philly without getting eyes rolled at me (that I noticed).
posted by 256 at 5:01 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I order pints all the time, and will gladly drink any one of you motherfuckers under the table, even spotting you the two ounces you're not getting.

(I also say, "May I please," and "Thank you," because it's habit.)
posted by klangklangston at 5:07 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Within a couple weeks, I was paying for 1 out of 5 beers -- and tipping 2 beers' worth.... soooo yay 2 free beers!

So a system designed to allow bar owners to shift the burden of paying staff wages directly onto their customers ends up encouraging staff to collude with customers at the bar owners' expense? I approve!
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 5:10 PM on July 19, 2012 [7 favorites]

Are they? Just because I don't drink doesn't mean I don't go to bars, and people who are not engaged in overt acts of Britishness don't order a pint. They order a beer.

Around here, depends on where you go.
Most of the breweries just serve real pints (or close enough as makes no difference). So ordered "a beer" will get you a pint.
Most of the brewpub type places ordering "a glass of \$foo" will result in being asked "Do you want a pint?" so if you know you want a pint, it saves time to just say "a pint of \$foo".
If you end up at a chain, ordering "a glass of pisswater" will result in you being asked if you want a "brutus or big boy" or whatever trade name they're using so they don't have to say how big it actually is.

So, yeah, up here in beer snob country, ordering "a pint" is a perfectly normal thing to do.

(as normal as you can get when talking about Oregonians and beer, anyway)
posted by madajb at 5:15 PM on July 19, 2012

Line-measured pint glasses (i.e -a glass bigger than a pint) became legal in the UK under the Capacity Measures (Intoxicating Liquor) Regulations 1988.

Rock. And. Roll.
posted by cromagnon at 5:21 PM on July 19, 2012

Today I learned people not only ask people to do something for them without saying 'please' but also are willing to take a stand publicly about doing so... just wow.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 5:27 PM on July 19, 2012 [7 favorites]

"Please" and "Thank You" aren't part of the pour negotiation. They're part of being a good person.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 5:31 PM on July 19, 2012 [4 favorites]

It's not even being a good person. It's just not being an entitled piece of shit.
posted by elizardbits at 5:37 PM on July 19, 2012 [9 favorites]

Has anyone actually experienced this problem?

Yeah, just last week. The bar in question was more a cocktail bar, but they have a pretty nice local beer list. Downside is that they're pushing the \$7-8\$ (!!) "pint" so when I got a pour that was missing a good 3/4ths of an inch, I was pretty disappointed. I just wanted to eat my lunch and read my book, so I didn't raise a stink with the first pour, but did say something when I ordered the second. I even said "please" and "thank you!"
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:38 PM on July 19, 2012

I guess this gadget wouldn't work for an imperial pint glass, but draft beer serving sizes are already being debated in the BC provincial legislature. I'm a little proud to be Canadian.
posted by Lorin at 5:39 PM on July 19, 2012

I've 'accumulated' a few pint glasses from Canada and the UK, and the standard Canadian glass is identical to the UK one, without the crown and grad markings on the outside. I just checked and they hold 16 ounces, with about an inch clear at the top for head. Even the weird shaped Alexander Keith's and Tetley (UK) ones, which look like they'll hold less, obey this rule. Generally around here - in fact pretty much any place I've been drinking in Canada - you do order a pint, and it'll come in a glass like this, or it'll be a similar glass embossed with the name of the brewery: if say you order (in Halifax) a Garrison's or a Propeller it'll come in the livery of those local breweries.
So having that extra space at the top means you probably aren't getting short-changed, and the people behind the bar, I find, are pretty good about making sure you get a good pour. But if you did get a crappy pour, with like 5 inches of head that greatly depleted your overall pint, if you point this out no doubt they'd just say, 'whoops, let me top that up for you.' No drama.
posted by Flashman at 5:43 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

people who are not engaged in overt acts of Britishness don't order a pint

Yeah, I'm against overt Britishness (it's "custom", not "bespoke"!), but I order a pint, it's just a measure, like ordering a "shot" of whiskey. When I say "glass of" I feel like I'm ordering wine.
posted by ftm at 5:53 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'd like to clarify, in light of what I said above, that I do not endorse under-pouring or otherwise ripping off customers. I just think that if you're not satisfied with the product somewhere, or the quality of service, your best option is to just go somewhere else rather than dicker with the bartender over your last half-inch of beer. A polite request for a top-up is a legitamate option, but even after that I'd probably go somewhere else and/or make a mental note not to return if I did stay and it kept happening. I'd continue to tip (at \$1/drink; I normally tip a bit higher to make the bartender think well of me) however. If I was so irritated that I felt compelled to not tip, I'd simply leave instead.
posted by Scientist at 5:57 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Makes it possible to stack the glasses, chaff.

Don't stack glasses. That's how they get broken.

And I cringe whenever I see someone scoop ice with a glass. When I was a young restaurant manager, we had the food/safety inspector over and he watched me do that and chastised me. No shit, I blew him off and not two days later, I broke a glass in the ice. Fucking Karma, man.

Anyway, I think in most states, unless they advertise that you're getting a "pint" they can give you whatever they want. Check with a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction, etc. But that is my understanding.

Personally, if I am out with friends, I will :

A. Spend more than I planned.
B. Get drunker than I intended.

Everytime. I'm thinking it is possible to overstate the effect of short pours on society.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 5:59 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

OK, I get that, but surely you know if you feel like you paid a fair price for the amount you drank?

I do know.

And don't call me Shirley.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:59 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh boy, a class dynamic coupled with alcohol. This is a MetaFilter par-tay!
posted by lazaruslong at 6:41 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I always wonder that people who are so convinced that every food service/bar worker is a dangerously sociopathic asshole who spits in food (and worse) still eat or drink in bars and restaurants. It seems inconsistent to me.
posted by rtha at 6:44 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

griphus: "I like how easy it is to figure out if someonE has ever worked as a server or bartender."

Or has had a partner or family member who was one.

Slack-a-gogo: "The Seattle Seahawks beer size debacle is outright fraud on a grand and deliberate scale."

What? People who paid for and thought they were getting 16 ounces of beer were actually getting 20 ounces. Furthermore, even after the problem was figured out, the Seahawks continued to sell fans 20 ounces of beer for the price of 16 ounces for at least one more game. From the article:
In a nutshell, fans who bought the 16 ounce beer have been getting the same amount of their favorite domestic for less money than the fans who paid more for the 20 ounce.
People who ordered 20 ounces of beer paid for 20 ounces of beer and received 20 ounces of beer. No fraud there. People who ordered 16 ounces of beer paid for 16 ounces of beer and received 20 ounces of beer. Nice bonus, and again no fraud there.

It's hard to see how either "getting the exact amount you paid for" or "getting more than the amount you paid for" can be described as fraud, even if the people who ordered and paid for 20 ounces might feel disappointed that they didn't get a bonus. "Didn't get more than you paid for" is not the same as fraud.

Although it does indicate carelessness or lack of attention on the part of whoever was in charge of beverage service. Did they not notice that the number of beers they were selling didn't match up with the number of kegs they were buying?
posted by Lexica at 7:21 PM on July 19, 2012

If you think this conversation:

Bartender: What can I get you?
Me: Umm... Guinness, I guess.
Bartender (hands me a beer)
Me: Thanks!

Makes me an entitled piece of shit, when the person is being paid to do it, you are surely entitled to that opinion. For myself, I've worked behind counters and waited tables, and it would never occur to me that the customer above was being an asshole.
posted by tyllwin at 7:26 PM on July 19, 2012 [5 favorites]

Beer in the US is a product that's well regulated throughout it's life-cycle (i.e. production quality, alcohol content, barrel size, distributors rights) all of which means standardized and precise containers. Yet it's the final link in the distribution chain, the part when the sucker of a consumer hands over cash, that suddenly it's caveat emptor on how much product is actually being exchanged. I guess this is a tiny example of the difference between Europeans' and Americans' views on government regulation and consumer protection.

Personally, I quite like to be able to go to any pub in a new city and not having to dance the tipping courtship ritual just to get the advertised amount of draft beer I'm paying for.
posted by rh at 7:45 PM on July 19, 2012 [7 favorites]

People who ordered 20 ounces of beer paid for 20 ounces of beer and received 20 ounces of beer. No fraud there. People who ordered 16 ounces of beer paid for 16 ounces of beer and received 20 ounces of beer. Nice bonus, and again no fraud there.

I do a fair amount of consumer fraud as part of my practice, and this would be a very good case for an unfair and deceptive trade practice under the "little FTC Acts" that are in effect in most states. This analysis will be under the Florida little FTC Act.

If the beer stand only sold the 16-but-really 20 oz cup ("the 16/20 cup"), there probably isn't a problem. The issue is that there is not just the 16/20 cup, but also the 20/20 cup. The claim would arise from reliance on false advertising because the purchaser of the 20/20 cup relied on the advertisement that the 16/20 cup was only a 16 oz serving, so he paid \$1.25 extra for what he thought was 4 oz more of beer. This would be a pretty good case because the beer stand would be left having to argue that given a sign that said "20 oz for \$5.00 or 20 oz for \$6.25, the consumer would have paid the higher price.

Oh, and it gets better in a class action, where reliance does not even have to be proven.
posted by Tanizaki at 7:47 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Line-measured pint glasses (i.e -a glass bigger than a pint) became legal in the UK under the Capacity Measures (Intoxicating Liquor) Regulations 1988.

They were still measured and marked pints before that though (with the attendant regulations about serving full measures). There's a Nothern/Southern split about the role of a head in a pint of beer, but in my part of the country at least, it was common to pour and settle, then top up, or pour so the head over flowed, so you would be left with liquid to the top of the glass and no head to speak of.
posted by tallus at 8:00 PM on July 19, 2012

What tallus said: I worked as a bartender in England in the 80s, and we used measured and marked pints.

I'm currently visiting the US, and I've got to say that I'm fucking pissed that I have to pay the waiter's wages as a given contract of sitting down: 15%, my usual tip, is now abominably stingy, and in order not to be screamed or sneered at, I have to pay 13.00 for a 10.00 salad, and 8.00 for a 6.00 beer, or I am, effectively, robbing the waiter. If I want to appreciate good service, it's 15.00 for a 10.00 salad, and 9.00 for a 6.00 beer, and I just don't have fucking time for this shit, especially given that I'm eating out 3 times a day.

posted by jrochest at 8:45 PM on July 19, 2012 [6 favorites]

You'd still be paying more for a salad if servers were paid a living wage because owners would jack up the prices of everything to compensate for having to pay their employees more.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 8:51 PM on July 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

They should still do it. The tipping system is dehumanizing and disempowering and creates unnecessary tension between servers and served. It sucks to go through a meal wondering if your server has pegged you for a bad tipper and is quietly resenting you, or if you just made your server hate you because you accidentally violated the Rules of Tipping without knowing. (There's no good consensus on what those rules are, by the way.) It also sucks to know that your rent money is dependent on the whims of a bunch of people who don't really care about you and who you will probably never see again.

The system hurts everyone, and it would be better for everyone if service employees were paid a real, living wage and prices were adjusted accordingly. If you can't afford a meal whose price includes paying for the waiter to have a modicum of financial stability, you shouldn't be there anyway. The whole system is dehumanizing and is a net drain on societal good will.

(My final shift complete, I am now quietly celebrating at my local bar with a gimlet and a plate of barbeque. My bartender is a master of his craft, and I am tipping accordingly and saying my please-and-thankyous.)
posted by Scientist at 9:30 PM on July 19, 2012 [9 favorites]

"Please"? Hell no. That's only when ordering bloody marys.
posted by fleacircus at 9:31 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I do agree that there are ways to order politely that don't include an actual "please". Still though I don't think it's right to phrase your order as an actual Order, you know? A "hey man, could I get a gin-gimlet-on-the-rocks-with-a-splash-of-St-Germain?" is perfectly polite if you use the right tone of voice. A "thanks!" is pretty much mandatory though.

The above-mentioned gin-gimlet-etc-etc is an exquisite drink whose only downside is the fact that it's quite a mouthful to order. Around here, the proof that this bar is awesome comes when the reply is "do you want that with fresh lime juice, or Rose's?" Highly recommended while the weather is hot.
posted by Scientist at 9:44 PM on July 19, 2012 [4 favorites]

This. This is how the class war is being fought.

Customers and bartenders should be on the same side.

Its the owners who want to sell more beers per keg and have less unruly patrons who stay sober enough longer to buy more food.

Rise up against the underpaying owners!
posted by porpoise at 9:48 PM on July 19, 2012

Y'all are crazy in here. All of this outrage is based on the idea that when you order a 'pint', you are ordering one imperial pint of beer. No. If you go to a bar and order a pint, that is understood to mean a glass in the shape of a conic section, filled mostly with beer, topped off with maybe an inch or a half-inch of head.

The head is important. It makes the beer smell better. It makes the beer look better, which of course makes the beer taste better. Also, a pint with no head is easy as hell to spill all over your pants. If you're drinking at a restaurant, this is doubly important, because the waitress has to go a few yards over to the bar to grab your drink.

If you say a skateboarder is 'a beast', you probably aren't trying to say that he's some kind of mutant vole. You're saying he's really good. If you tell me I suck balls at tennis, you are probably not giving me to understand that during our racket sport outings, you have personally seen me apply vacu-pressure to some testicles.

I'm a bartender. If it's not busy, I have no problem with raking the head off your beer and pouring you a little more, if that's just how you like it. In fact, I'll probably be pleased that I was able to meet your idiosyncratic little propriety. I like getting you the extra mayo if you want the extra mayo. If it's busy, I'll still do it, although I may not smile about it.

But if you shove a little protractor in my face and tell me I don't know what a pint is, I'm not going to thank you for your insights. I know what a pint is. It may not be a 'pint', but it's a 'pint.'
posted by insteadofapricots at 10:25 PM on July 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

If you think a beer should have a head, you serve it in a glass that accommodates the pint and the head. If you have a pint glass that doesn't accommodate the head, you scrape it off. If you serve 25% less than a pint and don't say so, you are just ripping people off.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:34 PM on July 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

If you go to a bar and order a pint, that is understood to mean a glass in the shape of a conic section, filled mostly with beer, topped off with maybe an inch or a half-inch of head.

Understood by whom? Professional bartenders, sure. But I would think the comments in the post prove that this is not generally understood. Imagine the naivite of the general populace, imagining that a thing is what it's called.
posted by Edgewise at 10:37 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you serve 25% less than a pint and don't say so, you are just ripping people off.

It's only a ripoff if the establishment is advertising that they serve 16 oz. of beer.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:40 PM on July 19, 2012

The special FXG Gas Station "Gallons" are actually half a litre! How DARE you complain I ripped you off! You didn't even say PLEASE when you asked for a refund!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:40 PM on July 19, 2012

Maybe so, furiousxgeorge -- but if we're ripping you off, we're ripping you off in the same way that 99% of North American bars have ripped off their customers for decades, in a way that's so commonplace, no guest I've ever served considers it a ripoff. There's a word for a ripoff like that. It's called a custom.

I don't even have glasses like that at my restaurant. Few people do -- sometimes the brewery gives them out, like for example Erdinger's distinctive pint glass, which is I guess sort of a buckled tube. But a lot of bars don't keep those around, because it makes the bar setup awkward if you have five different kinds of pint glass. If you want to tend my bar while I take your five bucks over to the Williams Sonoma and get you an Authentic Europœan Pint Flagon, I'd be delighted to.

Edgewise: Well, I hope you don't take it as an insult from a new MeFite (longtime lurker, second-time poster, how do you do) if I say that I'm pretty sure the MetaFilter population is not the same as the general bargoing population. Who like my pints just fine.
posted by insteadofapricots at 10:44 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't even have glasses like that at my restaurant. Few people do

Many places don't because bar owners like ripping people off. They don't expect people to mind they are gettig 25% less than what they ask for which is the whole point of the cards. It's not a bartender thing, that has been a red herring this whole thread long. And honestly, most of the bars I'm at I have more the "it's so full I'm spilling it" issue because most bartenders pour the glasses right. 99% do not do the ripoff thing you do.

Any decent beer bar will already have European glasses for the European styles. I'd be happy to take my beer in one of those if I'm getting the right price per ounce.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:51 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

So, do bars in the US only ever have one size of beer glass, and call it a "pint" no matter what size it is? They don't have the full range of butchers, ponies, middies, schooners, half-pints, pints and imperial pints? What an empty existence.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 10:54 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Okay, furious. I believe you, so maybe they do things different in Philly. Here in Toronto, my manager didn't tell me to pour a beer with a head in a standard glass. He just assumed I would know how, same as all of my colleagues do. Seriously, all of my colleagues pour a pint like that, whether they're from a fine dining environment, or just having moved to the big city from their podunk town where they worked at the leather-vest roadhouse bar at the mud flats. It is English as she is spoke.

And I work in a very decent bar. If you're ever in town, hit me up on MeMail, I'll buy you a headless pint.
posted by insteadofapricots at 10:56 PM on July 19, 2012

15%, my usual tip, is now abominably stingy, and in order not to be screamed or sneered at

Really?

Screamed?
posted by flaterik at 10:57 PM on July 19, 2012

Yep ATBH, in the entire vast expanse of the United States with a craft beer culture that is more varied than Australia, we only have one kind of glass. Can you see my eyes rolling into the back of my skull from over there?
posted by MaryDellamorte at 11:01 PM on July 19, 2012

...or you could get shitfaced outside the convenience store before stepping into the bar and paying a 300% markup!
posted by not_on_display at 11:01 PM on July 19, 2012

I don't want headless pints, I just prefer an actual pint to missing 1/4 of the beer in the name of the head but still being charged full price.

When beer snobs tell you a beer should have a head, they aren't accounting for 25% of the beer being missing when they say that. You are doing it wrong, your compatriots are doing it wrong, your owners aren't telling you otherwise because it makes them money, exactly as it would if the grocery store sold you 3/4 of a pint of cream for full price.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:04 PM on July 19, 2012

All I'm saying is that y'all could save a lot of angst if you switched to gin. My bar (Twelve Mile Limit in Mid-City NOLA Holla!) has as many kinds of gin as they do of beer (and twice as many as they do of vodka!) and it it glorious. Also I had a nice conversation with the bartender about the pros/cons of using dry ice to chill spirits, also if you've never had Watershed gin (from Ohio!) you should look for some and order it chilled because it is the best goddamn sipping gin I have ever had. (Blows MeFi favorite Hendrick's out of the water, also beats the delightfully-geeky vacuum-distilled Oxley.) Seriously people, craft gin is where it's at and I'll have you know my bar pours it in a graduated shotglass and then overpours it just because they're nice and they stir to chill rather than shake because that's the best way to keep the flavor.

Moral of the story: gin.
posted by Scientist at 11:14 PM on July 19, 2012 [4 favorites]

A grocery store container of ice cream states what the volume of the container is. Most bars do not do the same thing. Most of the conical shaped glasses which people call pints, don't even hold 16 oz. when filled to the rim. I stated in my first comment, that if you truly believe you are being ripped off, consult the Department of Agriculture who investigates those claims. Your rip off only occurs if the establishment advertises a pint or 16 oz. and the glass doesn't match up.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 11:15 PM on July 19, 2012

Also, for maximum authenticity you should sip your gin out of a plastic go-cup (What is a go-cup? Come to New Orleans and I will show you what that is) while sitting on your porch in Mid-City with the dog at one in the morning in the middle of July. Best way to drink gin, promise.
posted by Scientist at 11:17 PM on July 19, 2012

Yep ATBH, in the entire vast expanse of the United States with a craft beer culture that is more varied than Australia, we only have one kind of glass. Can you see my eyes rolling into the back of my skull from over there?

? No, obviously not every beer glass in the entire country is the same size. That would be communism. But is it normal for a bar to only have one size of beer, and to call it a "pint" (or serve it in request for a pint) even if it's not actually a pint? There are a few places like that here, but they suck.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 11:19 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I'd much rather be drinking "delicious" pine tree flavored vodka than a nice IPA.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:23 PM on July 19, 2012

ATBH, smaller bars or bars with shit beer (Budweiser, Miller, etc) usually just have one kind glass that is shaped like a pint glass but not always equaling 16 oz. Sometimes they will offer different sizes, but you usually only see this at chain restaurants. A craft beer bar will have all sorts of different shaped glasses to match up with the style of beer.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 11:23 PM on July 19, 2012

But is it normal for a bar to only have one size of beer, and to call it a "pint" (or serve it in request for a pint) even if it's not actually a pint?

There are many bars in the U.S. that, if you ask for, say, "a glass of Bud", will give you a pint shaped glass that may or may not (likely not) be a 16oz glass.
In a lot of bars, it is the only beer glass available.

College town bars often have a second larger glass available, often with a stupid name attached to it.

Bars that pride themselves on beer selection will maybe have 2 different sized pint-shaped glasses, a schooner-style glass, and probably a pilsner-style glass.

Beer wankery bars will have endless shapes available.

Also, keep in mind that the majority of beer consumed in most American bars comes in a bottle, so it's probably 12 oz. anyway.
posted by madajb at 11:30 PM on July 19, 2012

It's a bit of an anoraky issue: "Oh dear, this pint of weak lemony drink isn't actually a full pint, but 14 oz", isn't it?

Either the beer you get for the price you pay is a good deal or not; who cares whether it's really a pint? Sure, a bit annoying if you get slightly less beer than you were counting on for your fiver, but next time you know.

Other than that, if short selling really is a problem in your neck of the woods, having random consumers doing the gadget thing isn't going to help. You need either the government stepping in or some organisation like CAMRA doing consumer protection and public awareness campaigns.

The whole tipping culture is annoying though, because basically it seems that in the US, the prices you pay for your drink or eats are not the printed ones, but 15-20 percent higher as tips are mandatory and needed to actually get the staff a living wage. So on the one hand you get resentment because something that's supposed to be a voluntarily gesture of appreciation has now become a mandatory part of the bill if you want actual service, while on the other hand you got an even bigger resentment building up for all those fuckwit customers who don't understand that you have to live from your tips. On the gripping hand, the owners and service industry, not having to pay proper wages.

But all this beer talk has made me thirsty. It's morning here, but I think when I get out of work this afters I'll be going to the Beer Temple and see if there are any new interesting yank beers. Any suggestions?
posted by MartinWisse at 11:33 PM on July 19, 2012

And in California it is 15-20% tip based on the total sum, including tax, of course.
posted by nostrada at 11:41 PM on July 19, 2012

furiousxgeorge, if you think Watershed gin is "pine-tree-flavored vodka" then I would encourage you to try some because it is goddamn delicious and will completely redefine your idea of what gin can be. Especially if you are an IPA drinker, as IPAs are on the more piney/resiny/citrusy side of things to begin with. Seriously, if you like IPAs then I fucking guarantee you will enjoy good gin. I would really enjoy it if you would come down here and let me show you.
posted by Scientist at 11:59 PM on July 19, 2012

....pint-shaped glasses...

Sure, a bit annoying if you get slightly less beer than you were counting on for your fiver, but next time you know.

All these recent comments are missing the point. A pint is not a shape, not a style, not a feeling. It's a liquid volume with a legally defined meaning. If (and only if) someone is offering a "pint" of liquid for sale in the US, then 16 fluid ounces is what you should get. It's not like this is some sort of pioneering area of legal precedence that is too hard to understand or to act upon. Fraud related to weights and measures is practically as old as commerce itself, and I'm guessing one of the first areas of law that was actually codified. Without it, we'd all need to be carrying personal scales and pocket assay kits (just in case those coins weren't quite as gold as we were promised).
posted by rh at 12:13 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

So, are their any jurisdictions in the US that actually do require draft beer to be served in a specific sized glass? And with spirits, is a shot legally defined anywhere in the US?

I'm left wondering if the US bar industry's resistance to standardize units and measures is a hangover from the tight-knitted connection to organized crime during and after prohibition. I'm having a hard time deciding if this status quo is because it's capitalist ("you can go elsewhere if you don't like what you're getting") or mafiaist ("take it or get the fxxx outta here").
posted by rh at 12:26 AM on July 20, 2012

You know, I think a part of me has known from the very beginning that the whole Piaget Beer Gauge site is basically a joke and that the creators are not actually serious (though they are quite probably real mathematicians or possibly physicists) and that this entire thread is really just a bunch of ridiculously-contentious beanplating. Greg Nog knew this too when he posted this, and has been having a hearty chuckle all night about how goddamn self-serious MeFites are.
posted by Scientist at 1:31 AM on July 20, 2012

Having had a many a pint in North America and in the UK the big difference is that in the N. Americas beer is not spilt all over the place and customers actually prefer that. In the UK if there isn't beer on the outside of your pint glass something has gone wrong.

Each has its merits but the real solution is to go to Belgium to drink in small corner pub that has 2231 different beers all of them more awesome than you thought beer could be.
posted by srboisvert at 2:35 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't know why people in the US insist on calling it a tip when you're really just bribing someone to do their job.
posted by brokkr at 4:50 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

No, obviously not every beer glass in the entire country is the same size. That would be communism.
Amen.

I'm having a hard time deciding if this status quo is because it's capitalist ("you can go elsewhere if you don't like what you're getting") or mafiaist ("take it or get the fxxx outta here")

What's the difference, exactly?

I tend to have the opinion that, in any American bar I've ever been in, you order "a beer," or "a Bud draft," or "a Killians in the biggest glass you've got," or etc, so complaining that we're not getting pints is a little crazy. We don't order "pints." Maybe we should start, so that in fifty years we can revisit this thing and get honest pint laws passed. In the meantime, though, I'd like to talk about an area where we in the U.S. ACTUALLY DO order our intoxicating liquors in specific sizes, and consequently are getting ripped the fuck off: package liquor.

Maybe it's because I do more drinking in parks than in bars, but this really does piss me off. According to NIST, a US pint is 473.17647mL. When I go to the liquor store and tell the kind man behind the counter that I would like to buy "a pint" of Canadian Club, then when I and my friends get to the park and I pull it out of my pocket, we should be able to enjoy 473mL (I'm even rounding down!) of delicious whiskey from the Great White North. Instead, there's only 375mL. I'm being shorted two whole fucking shots! With half pints, this travesty amounts to about 160mL per pint, or more than three shots/pint.

The system is also rigged, like a lot of things in this country, in favor of those with money to spare already. Who buys pints and half pints? Poor people. They get shorted two shots per pint. An honest fifth (aka 1/5 gallon) should be 757.08 mL, when in reality they are 750. Rich folks who can afford the big bottle, then, are only shorted about half a tablespoon, or ~1/16 tbsp per pint.

Also, I haven't heard anyone say anything about how crazy it is that a 1/2 liter is so ludicrously close to a pint (16.9 US ounces in 500mL), and by extension that a liter is so close to a quart. It's as if all those ignorant medievals accidently stumbled onto the metric system, but just fudged it a little bit so it wasn't quite so perfect.
posted by LiteOpera at 5:42 AM on July 20, 2012

And with spirits, is a shot legally defined anywhere in the US?

Until 2006, bars in South Carolina were required to use those mini bottles of spirits when mixing drinks.
posted by BWA at 6:27 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I can't believe that "please" is an issue with people.

Unless you are someone's military superior, prison warden, or slave owner, you shouldn't be issuing them commands. You should be treating them as a fellow human being; a societal peer who happens to be helping you. That means making your desires known in the form of a request. "Please" is part of that.
posted by CaseyB at 6:35 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]

I don't know why people in the US insist on calling it a tip when you're really just bribing someone to do their job.

How is it a bribe when it comes after the service has been rendered?
posted by rtha at 6:36 AM on July 20, 2012

....in any American bar I've ever been in, you order "a beer,"...

This has been my experience too. You ask for a beer, the bartender doesn't ask what type of beer you want but puts a bottle in front of you anyway, and after having a brief conversation you leave without drinking it. At least, that's how I understand the process from watching American TV.
posted by Flashman at 6:42 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

We don't order "pints."

Actually, sometimes "we" do. Also, regardless of what the customer actually orders, many bars advertise or otherwise state that the portion is a pint.
posted by Edgewise at 7:15 AM on July 20, 2012

At least, that's how I understand the process from watching American TV.

I think you forgot the part where you have a brief, tense phone conversation and hang up without saying "goodbye."
posted by griphus at 7:21 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

I don't know why people in the US insist on calling it a tip when you're really just bribing someone to do their job.

Or, you know, paying them to do their job, because the price of the drink goes straight to the bar owners without passing Go.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:35 AM on July 20, 2012

Good luck with your, uh, pint-gizmo there, kid.
posted by freakazoid at 7:41 AM on July 20, 2012

Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish: "Or, you know, paying them to do their job, because the price of the drink goes straight to the bar owners without passing Go."
I don't even understand how you rationalize this fucked up arrangement. How can these people be employees if they're not paid a wage?

The closest I've heard of in Europe is the Köbes found in the Rhineland, who worked in the breweries' beer houses. They bought the beer from the brewery and sold it immediately on the premises, so they were kind of mercenary waiters.
posted by brokkr at 7:44 AM on July 20, 2012

Oh, it's completely fucked up, it's just not something you blame the servers for.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:48 AM on July 20, 2012

I don't even understand how you rationalize this fucked up arrangement.

It pays surprisingly well if you get high up enough in the ranks. A friend of mine is a bartender in Brooklyn and can make a month's rent on a Friday night. Waiting tables on a good day at a decent place can work out to something like \$20/hr, cash. It's good pay for hard work.

Of course, there's the other end of it when no one comes in and you leave with less money than when you came in.
posted by griphus at 7:49 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Tipping is the kind of thing all Europeans think Americans should "fix" and they sometimes think that the few vocal Americans who agree with them are some kind of force of change, when really no one really gives a shit about tipping. Especially bar tipping which is just "throw a buck on the bar". Bartenders certainly have no interest in changing the system.
posted by smackfu at 7:56 AM on July 20, 2012

I've 'accumulated' a few pint glasses from Canada and the UK, and the standard Canadian glass is identical to the UK one, without the crown and grad markings on the outside. I just checked and they hold 16 ounces, with about an inch clear at the top for head.

Except shouldn't a UK pint glass be an imperial pint, which is 20 ounces?
posted by elsietheeel at 8:42 AM on July 20, 2012

griphus: "Waiting tables on a good day at a decent place can work out to something like \$20/hr, cash."
Your implication of course being that "cash" = no taxes paid. What a fucking scam.
posted by brokkr at 9:07 AM on July 20, 2012

Still much better than minimum wage . . .
posted by nostrada at 9:10 AM on July 20, 2012

Scientist: Don't sit there telling the bartender how to do their job, which is just a way to make someone's life miserable while simultaneously making everyone else in the bar think that you're a pedantic whiny prick.
Not even when the noble, noble bartender is ripping customers off on a regular basis, defrauding them of their legal purchases?

Even pedantic whiny pricks are better than those who defraud.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:11 AM on July 20, 2012

But it is not the bartender who is at fault, it is the evil owner of the joint. I think. I am getting so thirsty.
posted by nostrada at 9:14 AM on July 20, 2012

Yeah, IAmBroom. Even if your server is an incompetent asshole, you don't have the right to lecture them in their place of work about how they should be doing their job. If they aren't doing their job to your satisfaction, you should leave or perhaps take it up with management depending on the situation. You might also adjust your tip, though I'm not sure what message that is supposed to send; it certainly doesn't educate a server that they should shape up.

Basically, it's the boss's job to tell the staff how to do their job right – not the customer's. You are not your server's boss. You are a customer and they are going to serve you because it is their job to serve you, but they don't actually work for you. This is something that I often bring up with customers when they want me to do things that I'm not allowed to, such as giving them free or discounted cigars. "Sorry sir, I don't have the authority to do that. Now if my boss were in, he'd be the guy to talk to – but I'm not allowed to do that. They're not my cigars to give away, you know?"

Fortunately I have (Had! I'm free!) a boss who set clear expectations for what rules I was and was not allowed to bend for customers, so I knew that he'd always be there to back me up. Or, if the customer went over my head (talked to the boss) and the boss decided to give away that free cigar or whatever, then that's fine – that's their prerogative, and I was still doing my job right. I'm not mad or anything as long as you don't look at me like I'm an asshole for not doing something that I'm not allowed to do. Just because the boss made an executive decision that contradicted my standard operating procedure doesn't mean I'm doing a bad job.

It's surprising how many people don't understand that just being a customer in the shop/restaurant/bar where someone happens to be working doesn't actually put you in charge of them. Servers have a job to do that includes serving you, but they don't actually answer to you except in the matter of tips. Which, as I've said above, is a shitty and inequitable situation for all involved – but threatening to withhold a tip also doesn't make you someone's boss, it just makes you petty.
posted by Scientist at 10:52 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've only ever heard people order a "pint" of beer at places with beer menus with sizes specified on the menu (such as the fabulous Brick Store Pub in Decatur). Everywhere else, it's, "Would you get a me a draft Beername?" or, "I'd like a large draft Beername, please."

If you're getting what you consider short pours at establishments that don't specify sizes, change your bar or bartender, or talk to the manager/owner. I know of at least one local bar owner who fired three bartenders in one go because they were short-pouring in order to cover free drinks for friends (or more than they were allowed for themselves) or so they could pocket the price of every nth drink that they sold.
posted by notashroom at 11:20 AM on July 20, 2012

Scientist: Even if your server is an incompetent asshole, you don't have the right to lecture them in their place of work about how they should be doing their job.
I guess I'll just roll over and take it, then.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:57 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Your other option is to speak to the manager, who is the server's boss.
posted by rtha at 12:59 PM on July 20, 2012

I ordered a "pint" in Nashville and got a 12-oz plastic cup. At the time I had no idea I was using the wrong terminology for an American bar.

In Canada, people under 60 usually order pints, and they receive a 16-20 oz glass. A good bar will give you a 20 oz glass with 20 oz of liquid. A corporate expense report bar (lots of these in Calgary) will state on the menu that pints are 18.5 oz and serve you that. A shitty bar will sneak in a 16 oz glass. I wish we had real standards like in the UK.

Like the debit card thread, this is one of those threads that just gets confusing when non-Americans comment. In Canada, like Flashman said, my experience is that a bartender will top your glass if you get an accidental short pour, and there will be no drama. But we also have a population that generally expects a 20 oz pint, and bartenders that get a sane minimum wage (\$9.05 in Alberta), so there isn't this hostility, this expectation that customer will screw over bartender and vice versa, this desperate grab for tips, right off the bat. Some bartenders look away when you tip here. Some people don't tip at all when they wait in line and pick up a drink at the bar. Bartenders are not pissing in their drinks because of this. (Of course we always tip waitresses/servers, and you will probably get ignored by them if you don't tip well).
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 1:16 PM on July 20, 2012

IAmBroom: Did you miss the part where I said that it would be appropriate to leave or to speak to the manager? It would even be appropriate to ask for an adjustment to your service, or to your drink or whatever as long as it were phrased as "hey, would you mind accomodating my idiosyncrasy?" rather than "hey, you're doing your job wrong/intentionally ripping me off, fix this".

The issue is not with people asking for adjustments per se, a good server will work to accommodate their customer's specific needs and desires, but rather with people essentially accusing their server of incompetence and/or cheating and demanding that things be "made right".

If you feel the need to call out your bartender because you think they suck at their job or they are trying to scam you, I guarantee you you'll have a better time if you just find a better bar to give your business to than if you take it up with them on a hey-man-you're-doing-it-wrong level. No rolling over and taking it required, just don't treat your server like they're an incompetent or a thief, and don't treat them like you have the right to tell them how to do their job.

If you think they suck at their job then take your business elsewhere, or if there's some specific thing that you want adjusted in an otherwise-satisfactory experience then just approach it from the perspective of you wanting a little special treatment here and there (which is fine, that's the benefit of having bartenders instead of bar-bots) and ask for your adjustment in a polite and non-accusatory fashion.

The problem is with people who do things like carry a little beer gauge with them so that they can check to see if their bartender is screwing them and then demanding satisfaction. Things work much better if you assume good faith on the part of your server and just let them do their best job while perhaps also making them aware of whatever little things there are that would make the experience extra-good for you, such as making sure that your beers are filled right to the brim.
posted by Scientist at 1:52 PM on July 20, 2012

Your implication of course being that "cash" = no taxes paid. What a fucking scam.

Why would you automatically think that? Not all bartenders and waitstaff are out to cheat the IRS.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 2:44 PM on July 20, 2012

rtha: "Your other option is to speak to the manager, who is the server's boss."
If I am paying his wages through bribes, er, tips, then I am his boss and I don't need to say please. Can't have it both ways.
posted by brokkr at 3:05 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

I am his boss and I don't need to say please.

You're not his boss. But even if you were, wouldn't you like your boss to say please?
posted by madcaptenor at 3:32 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Brokkr, for one, you're not his boss because if you criticize him or give him an order and he tells you to get fucked, he still has a job whereas you have to leave the bar and find somewhere else to do your drinking. You aren't paying his wages – you pay a small part of his wages for that one night, and he is free to decide whether or not those dollars you are waving over his head are worth the trouble of putting up with your rude ass.

For two, you say please and thank you because it's fucking polite and your mother raised you better than that. The fact that you're on the sitting side of the bar doesn't make you better than anyone – all it takes to occupy a barstool is a pair of ass cheeks. We say please and thank you because we understand that the people we are dealing with are human beings who deserve the same basic fucking courtesy that we would like people to extend to us. That still holds even if you were his boss.
posted by Scientist at 3:36 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seriously, the nerve of some people. "I don't need to say please." Of all the rude, entitled, pompous...
posted by Scientist at 3:39 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Things work much better if you assume good faith on the part of your server and just let them do their best job while perhaps also making them aware of whatever little things there are that would make the experience extra-good for you, such as making sure that your beers are filled right to the brim.

If the server cannot fulfill my order, his best is not good enough. I am not asking for some signature cocktail that I invented myself; I just want beer poured from a tap into glass.

"Bartenders are a proud and noble race"? If they can't pour a beer, what do they have to feel proud of? What is noble about insolent incompetence?
posted by Tanizaki at 5:45 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

This is a wholly owner-side issue. The staff - the people who interact with customers - are not the ones choosing too buy glassware that holds less booze than traditional glass would.

A decade ago in college we all knew which bars had short drinks (and this was a place where places sold \$0.75 "draws" which were about 12oz) and we would avoid them when seriously drinking. How we knew? Slamming 12 beers at one place was easy, at the other (Randall's Northside?), it would actually mean something. Invisible hand and whatnot.
posted by porpoise at 9:41 PM on July 20, 2012

If I am paying his wages through bribes, er, tips, then I am his boss and I don't need to say please. Can't have it both ways.

Did you hire him? Train him? Are you allowed to fire him? Do you sign his timesheet?

You're not his boss. Get over it. You have other options; grow up and exercise them.
posted by rtha at 10:28 PM on July 20, 2012

Last night I observed a bartender fill a pint glass to within an inch of the top, and then top it off from a different spout. Why might he have done that?
posted by christopherious at 3:02 PM on July 21, 2012

Christopherious, was the beer for you? What kind of bar was it? Sometimes people like to mix their beers and will ask for a certain beer with a splash of something else. Or maybe both taps were the same beer. Did the first tap sputter and then the bartender used another tap? We need more details to answer your question.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 5:55 PM on July 21, 2012

If they had the same beer in them though and the first tap ran out partway through the pour, shouldn't the bartender have dumped out that pour and started again with the good tap? Correct me if I'm wrong, but the very end of a keg doesn't usually come out right, does it?

Assuming the bartender was doing his job correctly, I would imagine that the person who ordered that drink asked for a float of some other beer for some reason. That would be unusual, but some people like being strange like that. A more common variation on that would be the black and tan, but that's made with half Bass and half Guinness, so the bartender would've switched earlier.

I'm honestly not sure why the bartender would've done that unless the customer asked for it.
posted by Scientist at 7:22 AM on July 22, 2012

Oh! From that Wikipedia article: "Likewise ale drinkers may order a Smithwick's with a Guinness head. This is an ordinary pint of Smithwick's with the last inch or so topped off with Guinness."

So maybe that's what the customer ordered!
posted by Scientist at 7:24 AM on July 22, 2012

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the very end of a keg doesn't usually come out right, does it?

The beer bar I go to, if a keg kicks in mid pour, they'll give you that half beer for free, and it's generally fine. But maybe that's a special case since they never replace like for like, so that beer is really gone for a couple of days.
posted by smackfu at 5:31 AM on July 23, 2012

elsietheeel, Canada uses the Imperial (UK) system. Our pints are 20 oz. That's why they're called 'pints'.

And the "If waitstaff were paid a decent minimum wage the food would be unaffordable" is rubbish. I've been in Washington for three weeks, and a supposed pint is 7.50 to 8.00 for a decent beer (nice beer, I will say); this is about 2 bucks more a pint than it is in Toronto, where both bartenders and waitstaff are paid a reasonable base wage. And yes, people tip 15 to 20% as a standard.

But I've never had anyone in TO or elsewhere open the folder, take out the folding money (3 dollar bills) and pour the change -- 1.50 in quarters -- on to the floor at my feet, and then throw the folder at me. The message was clear: I had slighted his honour by offering him change. The fact that it added up to 4.50 on a 14.00 tab was nothing.
posted by jrochest at 9:16 PM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

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