Water, pens, advice, toothpicks makeout sessions, telephone numbers, advice on where to go next, shoulder rubs are not free!  We are in the service industry.  We offer service and expect a proportional gratuity as a result.  Want to quickly enrage a bartender and encourage him/her to kick you out? Roll up to the bar and ask for water with lemon, a straw a napkin, break out Homer's Odyssey, slap your iPod earphones in. When asked "can I get you anything else," respond with "no thanks, I'm just waiting for someone."  

If you're lucky, like on a Tuesday afternoon and the bar is half empty and/or you're hot (e.g., good to attract other paying customers or a target for the bartender to flirt with) you may get lucky.  Otherwise, you're infuriating the employee and costing everyone money.  Go to the park and find a nice comfy bench.  I hear they even have free water.  No one will try to get you to buy anything – well maybe the herb man but we'll cover that in another post. 

I've seen skateboarders roll in all gasping and sweaty dying for water with zero intention of buying anything let alone tipping.  The other night, a well dressed 30'ish dude sat his ass down and proceeded to ask only for and a plate of bread – that's all!  The bar is not for you.  I'm not trying to be harsh but we are in the service industry and deserve to get paid for servicing you whatever that service may be. 

Finally, no one cares nor do they need to know what you're waiting for someone or why.  The bar is busy and we're trying to earn a living.  No, you can't sit there an "reserve" either stool beside you for your date.  It's rude and again robs the place and bartender of money.  By the way, the easy way to circumvent this particular issue as most other things in barland is to slap down some cash.  Buy a drink for your mythical non-existent friend and/or tip handsomely beforehand.  You'll earn the patience, understanding and all other kinds of good will from Bill the barman.

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