Bartenders use secret ‘code words’ to talk about customers without them knowing
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Given that they're often working late into the night and serving increasingly inebriated people, I think it's safe to say that bartenders regularly get to witness all sorts of weird and wonderful sights.
From attractive, flirtatious customers, drunken disasters asking for another round of shots, or simply an issue behind the bar, there are all sorts of situations the staff members might find themselves in, and many of them will be just too interesting or important to keep to themselves.
Obviously they can't always blurt out what they're thinking to their co-workers when the customer is standing right there, so instead it's been claimed that bartenders have come up with a code to talk about people without them knowing about it.
The claim comes from bartenders-in-the-know on the Reddit thread 'r/bartenders', and began after one curious Reddit user shared a post saying they they learned of the 'bartenders code' and wanted to know more about it.
They wrote: "A while ago I was told of a 'bartenders code' which consisted of various numbers that were used to represent things on the bar either secretly or quickly between staff."
The poster went on to share a few examples of the 'code', saying that numbers like '86' and '200' referred to certain professional issues, like 'ran out of product' or 'customer waiting', respectively.
There were also less-professional 'codes' though, as the poster continued: "'700' [is used] to refer to an attractive customer."
"It seems like a pretty fun and useful thing to get my staff doing, and I was wondering if anyone knew any more or had a different/more comprehensive list of expressions?" they wrote.
As it turns out, the Reddit user wasn't the only one to know about the code.
One person claimed '50' is used to warn another staffer that they're going to throw something towards them, so they need to be ready to catch it.
'699' apparently refers to a 'hottie at the bar', while '700' takes it up a notch, pointing out that 'probably hottest girl in the building is at the bar'.
Another poster, who identified themselves as a bartender from Glasgow, agreed with all of the original poster's codes, but added: "Plus, we use 'shoes' to mean an attractive woman. The bar I used to work in was frequented by bartenders a lot, so we changed that to 'garnishes'."
Apparently the use of secret 'code words' isn't limited to work in bars, either.
Another person responded to say similar codes were also used when they worked at McDonald's, claiming: "You could only cook 8 burgers at a time, so if an attractive person walked in, staff would should 'cheese on nine'. Then you'd just see five or six heads pop up from behind the fryer."
Meanwhile, cabin crew members on airplanes have come with a code of their own for when they want to alert their co-workers to an attractive customer.