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Best of the Blackout Diaries: Will work for beer

The difficulty of hiring while under the influence


By Jason Conklin and Nolan Rafferty, managers of the Lakeview pub Galway Bay

Conklin: A lot of our experiences and interactions are a little different than at a normal business. I mean, our Wi-Fi password is "fuck you drink up." You're not gonna hear a password like that at Starbucks or on a United Airlines flight.

Rafferty: The other day I gave the password to some businessman and he walked straight out.

Conklin: It's always been that kind of place. I remember working a shift, back when I was just bartending, and finding the previous owner asleep between two cars outside the bar. He had his head on the trunk of a Honda and his legs on the hood of a Mercedes behind it. Must have spent the whole night that way.

Rafferty: He did that all the time—like a goddamn human bridge between two cars. The owners of the cars probably just missed work rather than wake him to move their vehicles.

Conklin: Despite all the drinking, most things run smoothly, though we do occasionally look at each other and say, "Most businesses don't have to deal with this, right?"

Rafferty: You mean like hiring people drunk and having no recollection of them when they show up to work?

Conklin: Yeah, that's happened a few times. Remember "Nice Hair"? Did I hire him or you?

Rafferty: Your wife! She fucking hired him at last call because he had nice hair, and rather than stop it, I tell him to start tomorrow for the Bears game.

Conklin: Ha! That's right. We came back to the bar the next morning—and we have no recollection of hiring this guy, by the way—and the bar is closed and the lights are off and we see this guy with perfect hair squinting through the windows and trying to open the doors.

Rafferty: I scream, "What are you doing, asshole?!" and he says, "You hired me last night." Shit. Figures I hire the one asshole in the bar sober enough to remember it the next day. And maybe it's just how hungover I am, but I'm suddenly mad at this guy. I'm mad at him for actually remembering, almost like he lied to me. I thought he was as drunk as me. So I scream back, "You're late! You're fired!," and I don't know if life is just easy for people with that great of hair, but he doesn't even care. He goes, "Well, what am I gonna do with my Sunday now?" "Grab a beer and watch the game with us," I say.

So he stays and we get pretty drunk watching the Bears game with Nice Hair, but in the second quarter the TV breaks.

Conklin: So we rehire Nice Hair and send him, drunk out of his mind, to Best Buy to get a TV.

Rafferty: I go with him and we just reek of booze. Had to be the weirdest afternoon TV sale Best Buy ever had: a guy with a thick Irish accent and his employee Nice Hair, both stinking of beer.

We get back and the new TVs are a bitch to install. Me and Nice Hair are working on it, but halftime is over now, so customers are missing the game and screaming and Nice Hair just can't handle the stress and quits. He says, "Guys, I don't know if really have a job here or not, but if so I think I quit."

And we're going, "Nice Hair, c'mon, we've been through too much," but he leaves anyway. Didn't seem upset, almost like he and his beautiful hair were off to the next adventure.

Conklin: I don't think you need to do any paperwork on people if they work only two hours, which is probably good because I don't think any of us knew his real name. And I don't think the government accepts "Nice Hair" on a W-2. v

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