Tales From the Nerd Farm

The Drunks

My first drunk toss came within my first couple of weekends. He’d seemed weird on previous visits, then he passed out in the bathroom, flooding the floor and blocking the door. One of the regulars assisted me with getting him out, and the manager-at-the-time reminded him he was banned next he showed up.

I thought that when I moved from weekend closing shifts to weekday afternoons, this would mean less drunk-tossing.

Nope.

It would surprise you, readers, how many working class white dudes would get drunk before noon and decide to smuggle some booze into an internet cafe to day-drink and play World of Warcraft. Now, most of these stories are pretty consistent… sketchy dude buys some time, sketchy dude might ask to sit in the back (making us inherently distrust anyone who requested the back… well, except Leo), sketchy dude sneaks beers or tiny vodkas, passes out, I call the non-emergency number, and two paramedics, a couple of cops, and maybe some firefighters remove the drunk from my store.

While it was nice having proper officials remove my drunks for me, I will admit, this rarely never required guns and handcuffs, so yeah, demilitarize the police.

So instead of a list, here’s the story of the fastest anyone’s ever gone from “New Member” to “Banned for Life.”

He came in shortly after opening, around noon. Maybe he made some comment about how empty it was (I don’t know how busy people think an internet cafe should be at 12:05 on a Wednesday, but eventually I stopped responding to the “Wow it’s busy” jokes), maybe he didn’t, but he squinted at the price display, and asked how much an hour was.

“Five dollars,” I said.

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“But it says four dollars on the thing.”

“That’s the rate for members.”

So now this kind of clearly drunk guy wants to know about membership, and maybe you’re thinking I shouldn’t have bothered explaining, but next in line to “quality customer service” is “make the sale,” so yeah, I walked him through the membership package. Comes with ten free hours, ability to store time on your account, discounts on time and day passes.

“And how much is that?”

“Fifty dollars.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“Really?”

Yes.”

He decides to buy the membership, pulls out a surprisingly real $50 bill, and says he’ll be right back. Couple minutes later, he’s back with a Vodka Rockstar from the liquor store next door. I say he can’t have that in the store. He claims to have bought it from me, and I will always regret not walking him through all the ways that was a bad lie… 1) I know exactly what I did and didn’t sell him; 2) we absolutely do not sell Rockstar with Vodka; 3) we weren’t licensed to have alcohol in the store; 4) I watched him come out of the liquor store. So yeah, I confiscated that alcoholic energy drink. Which, given that lack of sugar and caffeine, is probably why when he switched back to the mickey in his coat, he blacked out at his computer 15 minutes later. And when I couldn’t wake him up… you know the routine, paramedics, cops, no firetruck this time, I think. And upon waking he tried to pick a fight with the paramedics, whose simple statement was “Look, leave here with us, or leave with the police, those are your choices.”

Minutes later, he admits that he acted the fool, sheepishly asks for his Vodka Rockstar back, and left, never to be seen again.

Total elapsed time: 30 minutes. Shortest membership ever.

Other notable bannings…

The most obnoxious person I ever had to ban wasn’t even drunk. He was an entitled, rage-filled asshole who sold novelty exercise equipment at exhibitions, user name Fijity. Fijity opened by doing that thing I hate. Instead of saying “Hello” or “Excuse me” he just… hovered until acknowledged, which was probably a few seconds but to hear him tell it was 1000 years of neglect. When told he couldn’t have outside snacks or drinks* at his computer, he threw a tantrum. He then bought a bottle of water with a $5 bill, asked for change for a 20, and threw a constant string of tantrums about only receiving the correct change. Tantrum after tantrum until the following morning, when after being proven wrong he still screamed like a toddler until I finally listened to the owner and told him to pound sand. Just the worst customer ever.

The other one wasn’t drunk either. He was a large man too old for his frosted tips, who bought an hour at a time, and in between went out to the parking lot to panhandle for money to get his next hour. That was bad enough, but then he was caught… pleasuring himself under the table. Repeatedly. Ultimately less of a problem than the couple who broke our sink having sex on it but come on, dude.

*We would later lay down arms on personal water bottles, because you should be able to have your own water instead of buying it from a mega-corporation, my bad, Fijity.

Next Page: The wrap-up

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