While anecdotal evidence suggests that sobbing quietly until a bartender takes pity on you is a pretty effective way to get his attention, new behavioral research suggests it's actually not the optimal method for ordering a drink.
In this case, scientists from Germany analyzed a number of behind-the-counter behaviors to determine the best way to get a busy bartender to serve you a drink in a noisy pub. Using cameras, they recorded the actions of a few dozen patrons to determine which method produced the best results.
Some people, for example, tried waving their hands to catch the barkeep's eyes. (A bartender friend tells me this is a big no-no.) Others sandwiched their way between two people already at the bar, which is never a nice thing to do and might even hurt your chances of ordering a Jägerbomb on the rocks or whatever it is rude and horrible people tend to drink.
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More effective: A few nice folks chatted amicably with their friends and glanced up periodically at the menu, which actually got them some attention.
So — what's the best tactic for silently communicating to bartenders your intent to order an alcoholic beverage? The answer: Stand square to the bar, and stare at them unflinchingly:
See! Not that hard. But why were researchers keen on understanding bar-patron behavior in the first place? (Emphasis added.)
That's right, the whole experiment was designed to see if robots could one day take over bartending duties. At least the robots won't need a tip.
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