Friday, 28 November 2008

The Book of the Law Of Nak

You know, it’s just occurred that there’s something else I should put here, in a suitably edited form.   (And, yes, Adrian, Graham, Peter and Cara; — that law, and its associated clauses, isn’t going in!)

For some year’s, now, I’ve been working in the pub trade, and made joking references to what I’ve called Nik Nak’s Laws for smooth talking Bar Stewards.

Which is a broad collection of one-liners, sound-bites, and bits of hopefully useful advice I’ve trotted out out on suitable occasions.

Like many people, I’d like some sort of claim at some sort of being remembered, after I’m dead.   Not having kids, the Laws are my attempt at it.

Here goes … with footnotes!

Law 1.

Never get involved in domestic incidents; – especially if the domestic incidentee’s names are over the door.

Fingers Could Get BURNT.

Law 2.

a) Don’t work in a pub you couldn’t drink in, BUT don’t drink in the pub you work in.*

This one’s IMPORTANT!   AND, as a consequence to this; – NEVER DRINK ON DUTY!

b) Go To Work on a Nutritionally Sound Breakfast.

Rather than a Hangover.

*(There’s quite a lot to be said, here.   For starters, the basic point I’m trying to convey is simply that part of a given pub’s atmosphere is supplied by us, whether we’re drinking on the job, or preferably after a shift; – drinking before a shift starts isn’t a good thing, either, I should add.   Let’s face it, how many of us have stunning cash handling skills?   Or customer interactions?   Adding alcohol to the mix doesn’t help, nor, in my view, create a good impression on the punters, either, especially those oh so important first time visitors.   With due care and diligence, Laws 1), & 3) may be bent.   Law 2) CAN’T!   And God Help You, if it kicks off, and you ARE pissed on the job; – you might have stopped it, if you hadn’t been in a worse state.   And please, at all times remember, we are dealing with a drug that is not known for improving behaviours; – many of us forget this, and the fact that other industries find drinking on the job unacceptable.)

Law 3.

The customer is always pissed, no-matter how right they are.

They tend to behave badly, in that state.   For a given value of both ‘Badly’, and ‘Pissed’.

  If they’re not  …  either you’re doing something wrong, or they’ve got a higher tolerance for alcohol than they thought.

Law 4.

Never forget the expandable rhubarb.

Curve-balls are handy.

Law 5.

Remember the Roadie’s Mantra, it’ll come in handy one day.

If It’s Wet, Drink It,

  If It’s Dry, Smoke It

  If It moves, Shag It,

  If It Don’t Move,


Law 6.

There’s always one.

At Least.   And, in the case of pub comedians, and the more odious punters that haven’t been barred, yet, several.

Law 7.

The boss is always right, that’s why their name’s over the door.

But there’ll be another one along, in a minute.

Law 8.

a) Keep your eye out for the pub bore, he or she will turn up.

b) Keep glasses out of the way of the  violent drunks, and make sure the boss is in between you and them.   After all, the boss is insured.

c) Avoid Messiah’s.   And don’t fall into the hands of a Hero.   I’m with Frank Herbert,  on this.

Law 9.

If you can’t improve the silence, say nothing.

Originally attributed by someone to something they saw quoted in a newspaper, somewhere.

Interestingly inspirational, but…!

Law 10.

Time goes past at one second per second.

Git, isn’t it…?

Law 11.

Stacked Glasses are potentially Cracked Glasses.

Remember that.

Law 12.

When you end a customer’s order with the question, “…is there anything else?” what you actually mean is “Mine’s a triple vodka…

Or pint of lager, or £4•57p for a pot of coffee and a cake, or a week with a high class Russian hooker/male escort……you get the idea!

Law 13.

Be Bloody Careful with the mixed messages from the drunk horny types.

Condoms are easy to pick up, rape charges hard to avoid.

Pissed & Horny can also turn easily into Pissed & Angry; – Keep That In Mind.

This is deadly serious, & something I can’t stress enough; – to put it bluntly, all they usually want to do is flirt with a pretty face when they’re ordering their drink.   If they want more, they will tell you; – WHEN THEY ARE SOBER ENOUGH TO DO SO!!   Do NOT take them home, unless you’re bloody certain it’s what you both want, you’ve both made the decision to do so, and that what happens there is something that you both want to happen.   Some friends of mine are on the fetish scene, and they always stress three words; – “Safe, Sane, Consensual”.   Of the three, the third’s the relevant one, in my view.   Informed Consent, and being in a fit state to give itreceive it, and understand the transaction, is crucial, whatever way we’re kinked.   Being in a state to understand that’s important.   Like I say, rape charges…

Law 14a.

It doesn’t matter how busy the pub is, you’ve seen nothing and no-one.

NOT naming names is an obvious ancillary point, here.   In summary, discretion is everything, basically.

Law 14b.

For God’s sake, please remember; – the dog collar comes with the job.

And, no, I do NOT mean the ones being worn by the entertaining ladies with corsets!

Law 15.

At times, Real Ale doesn’t need pouring, so much as constructing.


Shagging the boss might be tempting, but…

Law 18.

If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong, at the most awkward time, and at approximately the same rate as a Christmas episode of “EastEnders.”

Law 19.

Customers occasionally don’t mind their beer in the same glass.   They’ve never heard about cross-contamination.


Law 22.

If you can’t be good, be careful.

And if you can’t be careful, wear an entertaining hat.

Law 23.

First in turns everything on, and fills up the ice-bucket, last out turns everything off, and empties the bin.

Law 24.

If dating someone you work with, remember; – don’t go to bed on an argument, & don’t go to work on an argument.

Law 25.

If it’s green, sticky, and in an amusingly trendy, and/or rude bottle, sell it to a gullible punter.

On no account, go near it, yourself; – Law 16, remember?

Law 26.

Multiple’ is generally a good word; – unless it’s anywhere near any variation of vehicular’ or ‘injury’.

Unless you’re J.G.Ballard, of course.   Yes, THAT J. G. Ballard!

Law 27.

Alcohol is corrosive.

As can be our response to it.   Remember that.

Law 28.

It’s inflatable.

Please do NOT SMIRK!

Law 29a.

Anyone tells you the job’s glamourous, hit ’em.

The gene pool does NOT need idiots like this.

Law 29b.

And anybody tells you they wouldn’t mind doing the job, gently admonish them.

By tellin’ ’em to get their bloomin’ heads examined

Law 30.

Try not to keep the customers waiting.

Pissed and whinging isn’t good, if you’re on the receiving end.

Law 31.

At all times, remember; – Look Busy.

If nothing else, it’ll make the boss look twice.

Law 32.

If all else fails, BLUFF!

And hope like hell you don’t get caught!

Law 33.

It’s not the colour of the customer’s skin; – it the colour of their money!

Which sounds cynical, I know …  Either way, I’m left wing enough to think that what ethnic background you’re from, what gender you are and who you choose to sleep with, really aren’t important.   And that things like racism, sexism and homophobia, are basically bullying, by other names.

As A Final Thought…

Enjoy the job.


Get out,




while you can.