This was a column written by Karla Filibeck and published in the Kanabec County Times on December 12, 2013. Click here to view the original column.
I go out to eat far more often than I should. No doubt it is usually cheaper to cook, but it is so tempting to go to a restaurant where someone else has put forth the effort to purchase and prepare breakfast, lunch or dinner – not to mention do the dishes.
Having done my fair share of eating out, I have observed many servers. I have always admired skilled servers and felt badly for the ones stuck with patrons who are hopelessly picky and never satisfied.
I have never been a server myself, but I can imagine it would be a difficult job. Not only do servers have to manage their patron’s preferences, but they also have to adhere to their company’s policies and state’s laws – especially when serving or selling alcohol.
The state of Minnesota regulates alcohol sales, and it is unlawful to serve or sell alcohol to individuals under 21 years of age as well as obviously intoxicated persons.
Some servers make their living solely as a waiter or waitress while others serve as a second job. I have met waiters and waitresses in our community that are also business owners, teachers, pastor’s spouses, parents and grandparents. They are our neighbors.
I have no doubt that they want to do the right thing, obey the laws and keep our community safe. This is evident by our exceptional compliance check rates. The Kanabec County Sheriff’s Office conducted four alcohol compliance checks so far this year, and 100 percent of the businesses checked passed each time.
As a result, very few youth in our community (3 percent of those who reported using alcohol in 2010) report purchasing alcohol from a retailer. For this we can thank our local servers and sellers who regularly check IDs and refuse to sell or serve alcohol to minors.
I was sitting in a restaurant at an airport waiting for my flight one time and was observing a waitress serving the table next to mine. Those at the table ordered alcoholic beverages, and she asked for their IDs. The people complied. When she came back to my table to serve me, I told her that I noticed that she had checked the IDs of the patrons sitting next to me.
Much to her surprise, I thanked her. Then she told me about a time when a patron did not respond well to being asked for their ID.
Certainly responses aren’t always negative. I have seen women in their 30s and 40s very flattered when asked for their ID.
Another time I was at a bowling alley in a neighboring community, and I noticed a simple sign posted. It read, “No more than three drinks will be served when children are present.”
When placing my order, I told the bartender I appreciated their policy. He told me the business owner felt it was important.
Having worked in substance abuse prevention for many years, I may have a hyper vigilant eye for these things. Still, I don’t believe I am the only one who notices. During this holiday season, take a moment to recognize a server for checking IDs. Thank them. They will appreciate it, and you’ll be glad you did.
Karla Filibeck is a Coordinator of the Substance Abuse Coalition of Kanabec County (SACK). SACK is administered by Kanabec County Public Health. For more information about the coalition, visit www.sackcoalition.org.