[FOUNTAIN]'A Man Walked Into a Bar...'

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[FOUNTAIN]'A Man Walked Into a Bar...'

A man ordered four shots of expensive 30-year-old malt whisky as soon as he entered a bar. After he knocked back the four shots one after the other, the proprietress of the bar asked, with a worried look, "You have a pressing problem, don't you?"

"If you had the same problem I have, you would do the same thing," the man answered. "What problem do you have?" she asked. The man answered, "I only have a thousand won in my pocket."

The customers that bartenders hate the most are those who order liquor but have no money. What barkeeper likes to see a customer with an empty wallet? Bars are not charity institutions. The ladies behind the bar say with one voice that just behind freeloaders on their "don't like" list are patrons with poor drinking manners. They say that, although they have to treat customers with smiles, they have difficulty enduring persons who get drunk and run amok.

Chinese people, who enjoy jokes, divided the behavior of progressively drunker men into 10 categories, which they call the "10 scenes."

The first five are enjoying, getting loquacious, laughing, gathering in groups and singing. These are the scenes which people with normal drinking manners make.

The last five are getting angry, reviling, beating, crying and vomiting. These are unseemly scenes created by those with less-than-admirable drinking habits. Barmaids like them no more than other persons do.

A few days ago, the JoongAng Ilbo's Korean edition carried an article quoting a Japanese bar manager as saying that men who have good drinking manners in bars tended to be more successful in their jobs. The manager of a high-class watering hole in Tokyo's Ginza area, expounded that view based on her experience of tending to bar customers for over 35 years. She was, in fact, lecturing at the invitation of a college in Tokyo. "Many among the customers who treat barmaids kindly became chief executives of their companies later," the woman said. Her words suggest what barmaids want from their customers. A customer who drinks the bar dry is not necessarily a barmaid's ideal customer.

Is this the view only of bar mamasans? Surely not. It is reasonable to say that the prospects for those who pay their bills and are considerate of others are better than the chances of boorish persons. But neither is it good manners to apply overly rigorous standards to the manners of customers who come to bars seeking some relief from the worries of their lives.

The writer is the international news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Bae Myung-bok

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