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from a Real Vegas Cocktail Waitress

 

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It would seem to me that the easiest thing in the world would be to sit down and when a waitress comes around to take your drink order, just order what you want.  But I guess people have to make it harder than it is!  So here goes...

"What do you have?"

This is a very stupid question.  Another very stupid question is, "Do you have a drink menu?"  I mean, you're at a nickel slot machine, not a fine dining French restaurant.  I understand that people sometimes want a selection to choose from, but when you're in a casino, there are literally endless choices.  Another stupid question is, "What's good?"  It never fails that if I suggest something like, "How about a vodka and tonic?"  The answer is, "I don't like vodka."  So I've learned not to be helpful.  If you really need help deciding, you could say something like, "Can you suggest something sweet/strong/to knock her off her ass so I can get laid?"  (That last part was a joke.)  But the ultimate most frustrating order is when someone says, "Bring me anything."  I've actually gotten into arguments with people when I try to get them to be more specific: "What kind of drinks do you like?"  "Anything."  "Beer, wine, mixed drinks, coffee?"  "Anything, anything!"  Now I just say, as I'm walking away, "OK, water it is."  Suddenly "anything" doesn't include water.  So don't be an idiot, you know what you like to drink, so just order it!  Most casinos will have an assortment of mixed drinks, beers, wines, sodas, coffees, hot teas, hot chocolate, and bottled water.  Unless you're a high roller, you're not going to get the premium brands of anything.  If you want to try something new, something exotic, something exciting, you're not going to find it at a slot machine or a blackjack table.  Drinks while you're gambling are meant to keep you playing.  They're just little perks that are supposed to make you a little happier while you're losing, and to give you something to celebrate with when you're winning.  That's all.  It's not supposed to be a stressful ordeal, so don't think too hard at it.

"What kind of beer do you have?"

This is like the first question, but asked more often.  Now, everyone who asks this question has a certain beer in mind, so it saves everyone time if you just say, "Do you have Heineken?"  Because nine times out of ten, after I recite the twenty beers we have, the customer will say, "I'll have a Bud."  That is annoying.

"Do you have Bud?"

Everybody has Bud.

Ordering more than one drink at a time.

This is against any casino's house policy.  End of story.  So if you want two beers and the waitress will only give you one, don't give her a hard time.  Two drinks means two alcoholic drinks.  So if you order a double shot, the same rule applies.  I've worked in casinos where the house is very strict on no double shots under any circumstance, and waitresses have actually gotten in trouble for being caught on camera doing so.  If it's busy, please don't order two drinks, even if it's a beer and a Coke.  When you're playing at the blackjack table, the "no two drink" rule really applies.  The more room you take up on her tray, the longer everyone will have to wait for a drink, and that includes you.  I know it's all about you, but everyone else is thinking the same thing.  It doesn't matter what your reasoning is, even if the waitress takes an hour to come around, you absolutely are not allowed to have more than one drink at a time.

Never whistle, snap your fingers, or yell for a waitress, and never, ever, ever, touch, tap, or poke a cocktail waitress!!!

We cocktail waitresses may be bitches, but we aren't dogs, so don't whistle for us!  We don't respond well to snapping fingers or "Hey!" yelled from across the casino, and we don't respond to "clappers" (clap on, clap off!)

I have had people pull on my hair, slap my back, pull on my skirt, poke me between the shoulders, pinch my arm, kick me, touch my leg...all because they want a drink!  And you may think, oh my god, what kinds of places did you work at?  What kinds of people would do that?  Well, it's not always the young, drunk guys.  More often they're middle-aged women, grandfatherly men, young attractive girls, people you would assume have raised kids and grandkids, or have professional careers.  And these things happened not because I was rude or walking away or ignoring them (I would never do that!), it was always as I was taking an order from another customer.  When I am coming down the aisle taking orders, you don't need to wave your arms frantically to try to get my attention.  If I am taking orders from people who aren't doing that, why do you think you need to?  I'm not going to skip all the people before you and just take your order.  In the same way, if you sit calmly, I'm not going to say, "You weren't waving your arms frantically, so I'm not going to take your order."  So relax, play your machine, and don't act like a fool even if you are one! 

"I've been waiting an hour."

It really amazes me how people are suddenly human stopwatches when they're in a casino.  They always know that they've been waiting exactly an hour for the cocktail waitress.  Gosh, there sure are a lot of patient customers!  If you've really waited an hour for the waitress to come around to take orders, you're either too cheap to go to a bar and buy your drink, or you're not that thirsty.  Look, I'm not saying that it's never the waitress's fault, or that you should never complain, I'm just saying be truthful, and make your complaint legitimate.  I honestly believe that people enjoy complaining because it gives them a sense of power.  Sadly, if you're getting a power rush by coming to Vegas and complaining because it's taking too long to get your free beer, you must not have too much value in the real world.

There should always be a point to the things you say, and what is your point in making this comment?  Even if you have been waiting an hour, I can't go back in time and bring your drink and hour ago.  So you are wasting more time by making this comment.  Just think, the sooner you give your order, the sooner I can get your drink to you.  Make sense?

I once had a group of young guys that I served right when I came on shift.  They were sitting pretty close to my bar and I had brought them a couple rounds in about twenty minutes, they were pretty fast beer drinkers.  As I was walking back to the bar from taking an order from another area, a security guard approached me and pointed to the group of guys and said that they had told him they hadn't seen a cocktail waitress in an hour.  I said, "Oh, really?"  I looked over at them, and they were looking at me, waving their arms, pointing at their beers.  I just ignored them and went to the bar to get my drinks.  They saw that I didn't acknowledge them, so a couple of the guys walked up to me and said, "Hey, can we get another round over there?"  I said, "Did you tell that security guard that you've been waiting an hour for a cocktail waitress?"  He immediately put his hands up and said, "That wasn't me, that was him," and pointed to his friend.  That guy said, "No, I swear to god I didn't say that."  I said, "So...the security guard just made that up?"  He said, "He must have."  I said, "OK guys, here's the deal.  I've only been on shift for half an hour and I've brought you guys two rounds already, but whatever.  It's 3:30 now, at 4:30 I'll bring you guys another round, then you'll know what an hour feels like."  The first guy very wisely said, "Hey, you know, that's cool.  We're gonna take off now, sorry about all this."

Ordering from any waitress that walks by.

Do not stop me to order a drink if I am just walking by you.  Customers who sit next to the bars where the waitresses get their orders often think that they are purposely being ignored because they see a hundred waitresses walking by, and "not one" of them will ask them if they want a drink.  This is totally stupid.  Of course you have a waitress who will serve you, but because you see so many waitresses walk by you, you think you're being ignored.  Your waitress will come around to take orders just like she does for the customers sitting in her section who are further away.

Also, don't order a drink from me and tell me to come find you in the sports book on the other side of the casino.  Wherever you are going to play, just start playing and the waitress who is working your section will take your order.  If you're thinking, "The waitress never comes around so I have to order from the first waitress I see," how do you know she never comes around?  You haven't even given her a chance.  But if you know for a fact she doesn't come around and you're that desperate for a drink, find a bar and buy one.  If the real reason is because you're too cheap, or if it's the "principle" of the whole thing, that you're gambling so you shouldn't have to pay for it, then stand firm on that principle...which proves you really don't want a drink that badly after all.

Order for yourself.

It is very annoying when I'm taking orders for someone to say, "Oh, they want a drink down there."  I always say, "Do you want a drink?"  Usually they'll say, "Oh, yeah, another Miller Lite."  Or if they say "No," it always happens that when I get to the people that they were pointing to, they'll yell to me, "OK, I'll have another Miller Lite."  Do you see how complicated and unnecessary that whole scenario is?  I know what I'm doing, I know to ask everyone in my section if they want a drink, so believe it or not, you don't have to point out to me who else needs a drink.  I mean, do you think that before you came along I was crying to my friends, "Woe is me...what do I do?  Should I ask everyone in my station if they want a drink?  Is that my job as a cocktail waitress, to offer everyone a drink?  Or should I randomly skip people?  Oh, if only a smart, helpful customer would come along, someone who knows how to do my job, and let me know exactly who does and doesn't need a drink."

Ordering when the cocktail waitress is dropping off a drink.

If you want a drink right away, the smartest thing to do is to find a waitress that is taking orders and sit down at a machine or table that she is approaching.  It always makes me laugh when people see me bring a drink to someone, sit down next to that person and say, "Can we get a drink?"  Well guess what, obviously I was just here taking orders, which is why this person is getting a drink, so you will most likely hear me say, "I'll be back to take orders."  Why can't I take your order now?  Because I have another section to take orders from, and those people have been waiting a lot longer than you have.  Now, if it's not busy, or if I have to pass this way again on to my next section, or if I'm just nice (which I am!), then I will take your order.

Don't help yourself.

One very important thing you should remember is "Never, ever take drinks off the waitress' tray."  Your heart may be in the right place, thinking you are helping her, but you may find a tray full of drinks falling in your lap!  It's not an angry waitress seeking evil pleasure...it's physics at work.  If you don't understand, try it at home.  Hold a tray or plate in one hand and place some glasses on top.  Now have someone grab one or two off the tray and see if you don't find yourself going, "Whoa...shit!"  Unless a drink is taken off very slowly, with the person holding the tray paying close attention, it is nearly impossible to keep the tray balanced.  So don't do it!  The only time the tray won't tip is if there are two hands holding the tray with one hand holding the side, which may be the case when I'm very busy, and I will usually say, "Those two Coronas are yours, if you guys want to grab them."  So, unless the waitress asks you to, please don't ever touch anything on her tray.  And don't help yourself to change from her tray.  If you need change for a five, let her take money off of her tray to give it to you.

Another thing, when a waitress comes by to take orders and she happens to have drinks on her tray, don't point to one and say, "I'll take that one," and of course don't just grab a drink that looks like something you'd like.  This is not your own privately catered party; the waitress is taking orders, not offering drinks from her tray.  First of all, like the above, never take drinks off the tray.  Second, whatever drinks she has on there has already been ordered by someone and she just happens to be taking orders before she delivers them.  And third, and something you will actually care about, is that most likely the drinks you see are dirty glasses.  I've had people grab a glass off my tray and just start guzzling it down.  Hey, go for it...you just drank some sweaty redneck's tobacco juice - yum!  Now, there are times when a waitress has "extra" drinks on her tray, something someone ordered and then left, or for whatever reason.  You can always ask if those drinks are extra, and she may give it to you.  Most of the time I don't give people a drink I already have, and that's because 9 times out of 10 people will stiff me.  People are very strange; they don't like to wait for a drink, but if the drink is immediately available, they think there's been no effort on my part, and they stiff me because, "she had it on her tray anyway."  Now, I have had very smart customers come up to me and say, "How about I buy that beer off you?"  Of course I say, "How much?"  And if we can negotiate a good deal, I'll give him the beer, even if someone else had already ordered it.  I can always run back to the bar and get another one to replace it, or I'll make up an excuse when I get to that person as to why I don't have it.

At the bar.

When you walk up to the bar to order from the bartender, don't stand in the waitress' well (the area where the waitresses order their drinks).  You can tell it's the waitress' area because usually it's blocked off by a wall, has a lower counter, or, strangely enough, it has cocktail waitresses there.  You would be surprised how many people walk right past customers sitting at the bar and go into the waitress' station, push their way in between the girls and try to order from the bartender.  And when you tell them they have to go back out and order like a normal customer, they are genuinely surprised and confused, even irritated.  I don't know about you, but I've never walked into McDonald's and went behind the counter and ordered a Big Mac.

Another thing you should never do at the bar is help yourself to the cherries or olives or whatever from the fruit tray.  Why?  Because it's not a help-yourself-buffet, and it's a health violation.  If you need a lime, just ask the bartender or cocktail waitress, and they will get it for you.

When you order from the bartender, you have to pay for your drinks (unless you're gambling at the bar, but even then, sometimes the drinks are not comped).  It doesn't matter if you've been gambling in the casino and haven't seen the cocktail waitress in an hour, it doesn't matter if you're going to be playing a slot machine right next to the bar, the bartender has to charge you, even for a coffee or bottled water.

If you walk up to the bar and order from the cocktail waitress, she will tell you that you have to order from the bartender.  That's because she's not allowed to serve you drinks at the bar, even if you offer to pay for them.  So if you say, "I'll just wait right here for you to bring me a coffee," she's not allowed to do it.  It's considered stealing from the company if a customer is given a drink at the bar without it being paid for.  If you really want a drink that badly, at least sit down at a slot machine close by and pretend you're playing.  That way you can get your drink and the waitress won't be fired for serving you.  Help us help you.

The "pussy" order.

This is the I-can't-order-for-myself-because-I-have-a-pussy syndrome.  Here is an example:

I walk up to a couple (man and woman) and I say, "Would you like something to drink?"  The guy says, "Yes," then asks the woman, "What would you like?"  The woman looks at the guy, even though I'm standing less than a foot away from her, and says to him, "I'd like a coffee."  The guy says to me, "She'd like a coffee."  I say to the woman, "Do you want cream and sugar?"  He asks her, "Do you want cream and sugar?"  She says to him, "Yes."  He says to me, "Yes."  When I bring the drink, I hold the coffee out to her and say, "Here's your coffee."  She ignores me so the guy takes it and says, "Thank you."

Now, I'm all for letting the guy be gallant and chivalrous and all that, but girlfriends, this is annoying as all hell.  Unless you're deaf, mute, or can't speak English, order for yourself!!!

Jackpots, malfunctions, and flashing lights.

If your slot machine eats your money or goes berserk in some other way, it's OK to ask me to get someone to help you, but please don't unleash your rage on me, even if you've been "waiting an hour!"  If I see a slot technician on my rounds, I will be more than happy to let them know, but I can't force someone to come over.

If you need to go to the bathroom and you want someone to watch your machine, push the "Change" button (a while light will go on at the top) and a slot attendant will come by.  If it's not busy, they will stand next to your machine until you come back.  Please remember them with a tip if they do this for you.  A five dollar tip is the norm for this.  That may sound like a lot, but it's a small price to pay for insuring that no one else plays your "lucky" machine and wins a jackpot while you're gone!

The correct way to order.

OK, here's a quick rundown on the basics of ordering that will make everyone happy.

Say the alcohol first.  "Bacardi and diet," not "Diet and Bacardi."  And definitely not this: "Coke...diet and rum.  Bacardi."  Sigh.

Call your drink by name if it has one: "Screwdriver," not "Vodka and orange juice."  You should know the name of what you drink.

If you order a martini, please know that just saying, "Martini," means you want gin.  If you want vodka, you need to say, "Vodka martini."

When you order martinis, cosmopolitans, and other drinks that go in rocks glasses, you need to say if you want it "straight up" (no ice) or "on the rocks" (with ice).  Same with ordering just a bourbon, tequila, cognac, etc.  Oh, and you can forget saying, "Shaken not stirred."  Believe me, if the waitress does actually say this to her bartender, it's only so they can both get a good laugh.

Order coffee how you want it, this includes saying, "Black," or "Decaf."  I once took an order from a couple ladies, one who ordered a Diet Coke, the other ordered coffee.  I said to the coffee lady, "How would you like that?"  She looked at me like I was an idiot, then said, "Hot!"  She elbowed her friend and they both bust out laughing.  So I bopped my bimbo self back to the bar, and I came back with their drinks.  I handed the Diet Coke to the first lady, then as I gave the coffee to her friend the stand-up comic, she said, "Do you have cream and sugar?"  I said, "No...but it's HOT!"

Tea needs to be specified as, "Hot tea," or "Iced Tea," (or even "Long Island Iced Tea.")  And again, you need to say if you want it plain or with sugar, etc.

Whipped cream is a given on drinks such as Pina Coladas, hot chocolates, and even Baileys coffees, so you need to say if you don't want it.

"Irish coffee" means coffee with Irish whiskey.  If you want Baileys Irish Cream, you need to say, "Baileys and coffee."

Salt on the rim of glasses is usually not permitted at the blackjack tables, and sometimes not even in slots.

White Zinfandel is not a white wine.  If you order a white wine you will get Chablis or Chardonnay.

Drinks come in three glasses: Regular, short (rocks glass), and coffee.  There are tall glasses too, but these are given out only to high rollers.

"Soda" means soda water, so if you want a Coke say, "Coke."

A "cocktail" is not an actual name of a drink.  In other words, when I ask, "What would you like?" and you say, "A cocktail," I'm going to say, "What kind of cocktail?"  If you say, "Any kind," I'll have to smack you.

We do not serve peanuts or pretzels or ice cream or other stuff you get at ball games and carnivals.  We only serve drinks.

We are not allowed to give or purchase medication for customers.

Don't order for others.  Don't play host.  When the waitress comes down the aisle, or to a table, order as she comes to you.  And don't yell to someone on the other side of the slot machines and ask what they want to drink.  The waitress will make her way to the other side, if it's part of her station.

Don't tell your friends, "It's on me," then hand the waitress one dollar for all the drinks.  If you really want to be the big shot, tip like a big shot.  Just like ordering, it's really better if everyone tips for themselves.

Don't tell the waitress, "Come back in 15 minutes."  This is just stupid.  It may seem that you're the only one in the casino that wants a drink, and that the waitress is there to serve only you, but that's not the case.  She usually splits up her station in two or three parts, and it's just a continuous back and forth.  Depending on how busy or slow it is, that's how often she comes around.

Don't say, "Don't forget about me," if you stiff her.  And don't say it if she's already brought you two or three drinks.  If she's been serving you all this time, why would you feel the need to remind her to come back?

Don't send the waitress to another aisle to get the tip from your husband.  Even though this is annoying, I will do it.  Most waitresses are too embarrassed to do this.

Don't ask, "How long will it take?"  This is an extremely stupid question.  My reply is always, "I'll be as fast as I can."  There is no way I can predict how long it will be to get a drink.  There are so many variables: how far away the bar is, how many other people order, how many waitresses will be in line before me, if we happen to run out of whatever it is you order, if someone bumps into me and spills my tray....if you feel the waitress is taking too long, then leave.  It's not a big deal.

If you're standing behind your friend playing at a machine or blackjack table, move back to let the waitress come through to take orders or drop off drinks.  It always surprises me that most people don't move, even when I say, "Excuse me," very politely.  I usually have to say it two or three times, and by the third time I'm not so polite and people look at me as if I'm the rude one.  Along the same lines, please don't hold court in the center of an aisle.  And you are not allowed to use a closed blackjack table as a lounge area.  You are also not allowed to pull together chairs in front of slot machines so that you and your twenty relatives can have a family reunion in the slot area.

You must wear shoes, it is a health violation if you don't.  If you're headed to the pool you have to be covered up, it is a sight violation if you don't.

Under 21.

If there's any chance at all that you may look to be in your twenties, bring your I.D.  If you just turned twenty-one, absolutely bring your I.D.  And it has to be a government picture I.D.  There is some dispute over expired I.D.'s but at the casino I work at, an expired I.D. is NOT considered a valid I.D.  Many employees will tell you that you can get a wrist band from the security guard to avoid being carded over and over, but this is not true.  It is up to each individual employee to see for himself/herself that the person they are serving is 21 or over.  If there is one argument that you will absolutely never win, this is it.  This is a very serious law, people have lost their jobs over not carding people, so have your I.D. ready.  When I do card you, don't rush me.  I have to look at I.D.'s from all over the world, so I don't know at a glance where all the information is, and I'm going to take my time.  And another thing, if you try to rush me I'll assume it's because you're trying to hide something.  I once carded a guy who was with his mother, and when he handed me his I.D. he kept his hand out as if he expected me to pass it back to him in a couple of seconds.  Well, he was really tall, like over 6 feet, and the I.D. said 5' 10", so I said, "What's your address?"  He looked at me like I just asked him to explain the theory of relativity, and he said, "Uh...my address?"  I said, "You don't know where you live?"  He looked at his mom, who just kept playing her machine, acting totally oblivious even though she was sitting right next to us.  I said, "Goodbye."

If you have just turned twenty-one, you have absolutely no cause to be angry or annoyed if you get carded.  Just because you know you're twenty-one doesn't mean the whole world knows.  Yes, you're excited that you can throw away that fake I.D. and drink legally, but don't get an attitude.  In the same way, I never understood people who get upset being carded when they're in their late 20's or even 30's.  If your biggest problem in life is looking young, you need to re-evaluate your gratitude journal!

Another thing about minors.  Even if you're just sitting there waiting patiently for your friends or parents as they gamble, you must leave.  This includes slot areas, table games, lounges, and bars.  Any place that has drinking and/or gambling.  I cannot serve a minor even if it's "just water," I cannot serve you (the adult) if your kid is there with you.  It's the law, so if you're the mom and you say, "It's OK, they're with me, they're not gambling," it's not OK.  And it's also the waitress's responsibility to card people who aren't playing or drinking.  And it's also not OK to leave your kids unattended.  I have seen so many people yell at their kids to get away from a slot machine, as if it's their kids' fault, and tell them to "go wait over there."  This is one of those laws that the casinos take very seriously, and I don't know why people get so upset when they're told they can't just leave their kids unattended while they gamble.  Isn't this bad parenting?  Minors also include tiny babies in strollers.  You cannot have your baby next to you while you gamble.  The only time you're allowed to have a baby with you is if it's in your stomach.

"Can I order a drink if I'm not playing?"

I usually ask everyone who is in a group what they want to drink even if only a few of them are playing.  The reasons are because 1. I'm nice, and 2. usually by the time I come back with the drinks everyone's putting at least a couple bucks in the machines.  It makes people happy to have a drink, and they want to play where they're happy and get good service.  The thing is, technically I only have to serve the people who are actively playing.  This means that if you are a loser and just trying to get a free drink, I don't have to serve you.  If you are pretending to put in a couple of nickels or you tell me that you just lost a hundred bucks "over there," I still don't have to serve you until I see that you are actually playing.  It's really amazing the lengths people will go to for a free drink.  So once again the deal here is to find a machine you want to play at, sit down, relax, play, and when I come around I will be more than happy to bring you a drink.

So what's the story, are the drinks watered down or what?

No, at least not on purpose.  If you mean, "Do you guys put water in the drinks to make them taste like shit?", then the answer is a definite no.  Why the hell would I purposely serve you a lousy drink for no reason, especially when I want a tip?  Sometimes the bartender pre-ices the glasses so that when a waitress comes up to order, he'll have them ready and it won't take as long to make the drinks.  This is time-efficient, but if the ice has melted, then the drinks will be watered down.  I always make my bartenders re-ice my glasses if I see that this has happened, but some girls don't care.

If you mean, "I can't taste the alcohol," then there are some very easy explanations for this.  First of all, you get only one shot in a drink (unless it's a Long Island or something where the drink itself is made with more alcohol).  These shots are pre-measured because they are poured out of a "gun," or else a bartender has to use a jigger if he's pouring the alcohol from a bottle.  Cameras are everywhere, and a bartender will not lose his job for you because you can't taste the alcohol.  For most people, one shot is sufficient. For others, who are used to free-pouring their own drinks at home and at parties, one shot is like a drop in the ocean, they can barely taste it at all.  Also, the more you drink, the less you can taste the alcohol.  When people start ordering double Jack and Cokes from me, sometimes I just bring them plain Cokes and they can't even tell, and they continue ordering their virgin doubles, and they think I'm cool for "hooking them up."

People complain about how small the glasses are, but it's actually a good thing if you want to taste the alcohol.  I always fill my glasses all the way with ice...the smaller the glass, the more ice you have, the stronger the drink will taste.  Makes sense, right?  Not to some people.  I very rarely get complaints that my drinks taste watered down, but some people think they can outwit me and the casino by saying, "Can you bring me a vodka tonic in a tall glass with less ice?"  I always say, "Sure, but you realize the drink will taste weaker."  After looking confused for a second they say, "It will?"  I say, "Yes, because you will still get only one shot of vodka, and the rest will be tonic."  Another confused look with some serious contemplation, then, "OK, just bring it the way it was."  What I usually suggest to someone if they want to have a stronger tasting drink is to have it in a rocks glass, a vodka with a splash of tonic.  Yes, the drink is smaller, but I've never had someone complain they couldn't taste the alcohol that way.

If you still don't believe that there actually is alcohol in the drink, order the shot on the side.  You may be disappointed at how small a shot is, but now you can be sure you're getting your free drink's worth!