Don’t Drink and Dial

You know the feeling.

You wake in a dark room, with a pounding head, dry mouth and palpitations.

Try explaining that away

Laying there, trying to figure out if you need Neurofen, food or booze to ease the pain, a creeping feeling of guilt and shame washes over you.

For a while you wrack you brain, trying to remember what you did last night, and where this ominous feeling is coming from. Did I act like a wanker in my bar? Did I get in a fight? Did I spend too much money? Did I kiss someone I shouldn’t have?

And then you reach for your mobile.

Ah, shit.

Mobile phones are ubiquitous these days. In fact, if you are a young bartender, the chances are you can’ t remember the days when we didn’t have them. Or even the days when they were just phones.

You might not have detonated it yet, but that sexy little bit of technology in your pocket is a hand grenade. There will come a time, probably many times, when you will get drunk and have what my friends call ‘an unstable’, when your bartender liquor-handling credentials fail you.

In the old days, you’d have to stagger to a phone box, find 10p, manage to get it in the slot and then remember the number you wanted to call before drunk dialling… a process so convoluted you would likely sober up or pass out half way through.

These days, a couple of clicks on your mobile, and your ill advised ramblings are broadcast to everyone you know.

SMS, Facebook, Twitter, and you are buggered.

The consequences of a drunk dialling can range from the comedic to the tragic. I posted a request for phone calamity stories on Facebook, and this is one of the responses I received:

“I used to run sales for a small removals company. One of our removal guys, while on a job near Frankfurt, used his company mobile to make a drunken and tearful call to his (recently) ex-girlfriend. Unfortunately he passed out, mid-call and she, being brighter than him and somewhat vindictive, didn’t hang up either. He was presented with a bill for £2500 on his return, some 5 times his earnings for the fortnight he’d been away.”

In retrospect, this is a pretty funny story. However for the chap in question, at the time, it must have been horrendous. Indeed, this humble reporter has a long and illustrious career of drunk dialling which once caused the breakup of a very important relationship. I gotta tell you, kicking yourself just doesn’t do it justice.

As a bartender, you probably have something like 500 Facebook friends, give or take. This group is made up of your real mates, industry peers and colleagues, family and customers.

A drunk status update about how your man/woman/boss is a wanker/bitch/tyrant and you have broadcast your madness to literally everyone you know. It can have terrible consequences, personally and professionally.

There’s no defence against this often underestimated peril that I know of… maybe someone will develop an App that measures your blood alcohol before it lets you send a text.

But until that time, be aware, and be warned, unless technology finds an answer… don’t drink and dial.

Thanks to Tim Sewell for the removal driver story.