Bartenders are social creatures and often tend to congregate in places where alcohol – particularly rum – are abundant, even if that place happens to be Ingliston.
Ingliston is a small village on the outskirts of Edinburgh, if you define a village as the stretch of road between Edinburgh Airport and the Park&Ride. Its major claim to fame is the annual Royal Highland Show which I believe involves showing off livestock and examples of Scottish masculinity. Outside of that, the showground is used for events and trade shows throughout the year, including Bar Scotland 2009 which ran on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week.
First of all, I’d been issued with a laminate that said “Jon Hughes, Head Bartender,” which made me way happier than it should have. That translated into a greater tolerance of salesfolk, especially of the less exciting (read non-alcoholic) products.
EPOS Salesman: what kind of tills do you use at the moment?
Me: [The kind of tills we use at the moment].
EPOS Salesman: Terrible system, absolutely awful. Let me show you our solution.
Me: That’s really something our head office decides on.
(Five minutes later.)
Me: Does this do anything [our current tills] don’t?
EPOS Salesman: Well, if your manager is off playing golf and you run out of beer, you can send him a message through the till to order more.
Me: From the golf course?
EPOS Salesman: Yup!
Me: Does this do anything [our current tills] and a phone don’t?
It turns out that trade shows are weird. A free pen is not enough of an inducement to drop £500 on a set of scales for counting money and nothing is enough of an inducement to stock a 37.5%ABV vodka in a discount store bottle at £4.50 a shot. Still, there was plenty of goodness – the lovely UK rum ambassador Ian Burrell, Monkey Shoulder moleskines, Beefeater 24, the reps from Specialty Brands slipping us tasters of Diplomatico Reserve even though our supplier doesn’t carry it, the rep from Funkin Purees telling us about the fight in our bar the night before, free beer and flair training from LA Bartenders, robbing crisps from the snack manufacturers stand, and flat-out asking from Havana Club Cuban Barrel-proof, please.