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The Slice: Colorful language just ain’t what it used to be

Fri., Dec. 13, 2013

Here are just a few of the reasons why Spokane-area bartenders should resist the seasonal urge to do an impression of Nick, the surly Pottersville bartender in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Most modern cash registers do not make a ringing-bell sound and so it might not make sense to stand there and say “Get me – I’m givin’ out wings.”

Repeatedly opening and closing a cash register’s drawer (see above) will be recorded by the computer and the resulting number – which will exceed the total of customers/transactions – could look funny to your supervisor.

Addressing a couple of men at the bar as “pixies” raises several issues.

Referring to another patron as a “rum-head” is not in keeping with most 2013 concepts of customer service, even those pertaining to dealing with rum-heads.

Saying “We serve hard drinks in here for men who want to get drunk fast” is poor marketing and might, potentially, be the sort of thing a liquor board investigator would use in building a case to shut your place down.

Threatening to punch a customer – “Do I have to slip you my left?” – is not a good idea, even if you are joking. Not everyone sitting at bars is capable of making that distinction.

In challenging economic times, getting in the face of holiday revelers with money to spend is unwise. Thus, saying “We don’t need any characters around to give the joint atmosphere” is apt to drive away customers.

Few today would recognize the expression “I don’t know you from Adam’s off ox.”

Instructing bouncers to “Throw ’em out!” is not nearly euphemistic enough to sound realistic in this litigious era. A bartender would, of course, actually say something like “Ethan, would you please escort these gentlemen to the VIP lounge and see to their needs.”

Unbelievable as it might sound, not everyone has seen “It’s a Wonderful Life.” So some of those you are trying to entertain with your Nickisms will simply be baffled.

Today’s Slice question: What’s your good luck charm?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email Underwear can be a winning gift in the right circumstances.

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