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Shamed for Not Drinking Alcohol?


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We just got off the Oasis of the Seas for the May 8th sailing. I did note this on the RC survey, but just wanted to see if anyone else here has experienced bartenders shaming you for not drinking alcohol. We got the refreshment package and while most of the time we had no issues, toward the end of the cruise, I asked for a Lime & Coconut with zero alcohol and the bartender kind of badgered me about it. I was like, "I have a refreshment package, I don't drink alcohol" and he was like, "Really? You want virgin? No, come on." Made me feel a bit weird. I don't drink since I don't like alcohol, so...just give me my drink and don't try to make me feel like I'm a terrible person, okay? This happened two more times toward the end with different bartenders. Is this normal?

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We've never experienced this.

I don't personally go for the virgin drinks, but over time I've ordered just a virgin drink or two for my wife, my kids when they were underage, my grandkids, my mother, and my mother-in-law (without ordering alcohol for myself). Every bartender I've encountered has smiled, made the virgin drink(s), and wished me a good day/evening - just like when I order alcohol.

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29 minutes ago, Lexster said:

We just got off the Oasis of the Seas for the May 8th sailing. I did note this on the RC survey, but just wanted to see if anyone else here has experienced bartenders shaming you for not drinking alcohol. We got the refreshment package and while most of the time we had no issues, toward the end of the cruise, I asked for a Lime & Coconut with zero alcohol and the bartender kind of badgered me about it. I was like, "I have a refreshment package, I don't drink alcohol" and he was like, "Really? You want virgin? No, come on." Made me feel a bit weird. I don't drink since I don't like alcohol, so...just give me my drink and don't try to make me feel like I'm a terrible person, okay? This happened two more times toward the end with different bartenders. Is this normal?

This sounds like a training issue for the staff that you ran into.  There are likely many people onboard that have struggled with alcohol addiction in the past and choose not to drink anymore.  The bartenders should know not to pester or even make comments when adults order virgin beverages.  You did the right thing by noting it on the survey.  Hopefully that will make it to the right people.

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Had it happen to me last year on a sailing from Southampton. There response was "Really? You don't have to drive home!" but that was it, i really felt this was more of a lighthearted joke in my case, definitely didn't badger me or encourage me to drink alcohol. I had the Deluxe beverage Package so i really didn't think anything of it, but I can see how that behavior could be problematic.

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Hope that doesn't happen on my upcoming cruise.  I won't drink enough to justify the DBP, but am getting the refreshment package, with the possibility of getting an alcoholic drink or glass of wine if I want, but not more than 2 a day probably

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I have had this happen in a joking manner. I hope they were joking, otherwise its bad training. I don't get the issue as a mocktail is easier to make without the alcohol......maybe they were hoping if you are drinking a lot, you might tip more.

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2 hours ago, Lexster said:

"Really? You want virgin? No, come on."

I am sorry that you felt shamed.  

I don't think the statement (read as text) is a direct insult or attempt to shame though.  I was once a bartender and when someone ordered a well drink, I would often try to upsell (as my job recommended) by saying, "Really? Top shelf is only xxx dollars more."  This statement was never intended to mean, "c'mon can't you afford the good stuff?"  

I expect my bartenders to be friendly and that sometimes includes light jabbing back and forth.

BUT--if the bartender in question used a derogatory tone of voice or some other mannerism indicating shame, then for sure that is inappropriate.  

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1 hour ago, Spang1974 said:

Had it happen to me last year on a sailing from Southampton. There response was "Really? You don't have to drive home!" but that was it, i really felt this was more of a lighthearted joke in my case, definitely didn't badger me or encourage me to drink alcohol. I had the Deluxe beverage Package so i really didn't think anything of it, but I can see how that behavior could be problematic.

Exactly.  I should have read your comment before posting mine.  Very well said.

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17 minutes ago, CruisingNewb said:

I am sorry that you felt shamed.  

I don't think the statement (read as text) is a direct insult or attempt to shame though.  I was once a bartender and when someone ordered a well drink, I would often try to upsell (as my job recommended) by saying, "Really? Top shelf is only xxx dollars more."  This statement was never intended to mean, "c'mon can't you afford the good stuff?"  

I expect my bartenders to be friendly and that sometimes includes light jabbing back and forth.

BUT--if the bartender in question used a derogatory tone of voice or some other mannerism indicating shame, then for sure that is inappropriate.  

It was a friendly tone and if it was once, I would have been okay, but he commented on it multiple times asking me if I was sure. When he gave me the drink, he said "Your /virgin/ Lime and Coconut", like emphasizing the virgin part which I felt was just unnecessary.

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22 minutes ago, Lexster said:

It was a friendly tone and if it was once, I would have been okay, but he commented on it multiple times asking me if I was sure. When he gave me the drink, he said "Your /virgin/ Lime and Coconut", like emphasizing the virgin part which I felt was just unnecessary.

I can see how that might have made you feel shamed.  Everyone is different in how they perceive a situation.  Here is my ultimate take on this, and I hope you understand that I am trying to be sympathetic, you don't know the bartender's background, culture, etc...his repeated comments may have hurt you, but I say give him the benefit of the doubt and brush this one off.  I am definitely anti-bully and anti-shaming, even though I am guilty of shaming once in awhile, but its all on a spectrum.  If you let it get to you that badly, then its only hurting you.  I know, I know, if others feel the same way, and experience the same thing, they too are being hurt, but in this specific instance, it just seems like bartender banter.  

Oh...by the way, I have had customers ask me, way back when, for virgin drinks and when I would try and upsell them, they would say something like "I don't drink" or "I'm a recovering alcoholic." That would shut me up real quick.  

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5 hours ago, CruisingNewb said:

I can see how that might have made you feel shamed.  Everyone is different in how they perceive a situation.  Here is my ultimate take on this, and I hope you understand that I am trying to be sympathetic, you don't know the bartender's background, culture, etc...his repeated comments may have hurt you, but I say give him the benefit of the doubt and brush this one off.  I am definitely anti-bully and anti-shaming, even though I am guilty of shaming once in awhile, but its all on a spectrum.  If you let it get to you that badly, then its only hurting you.  I know, I know, if others feel the same way, and experience the same thing, they too are being hurt, but in this specific instance, it just seems like bartender banter.  

Oh...by the way, I have had customers ask me, way back when, for virgin drinks and when I would try and upsell them, they would say something like "I don't drink" or "I'm a recovering alcoholic." That would shut me up real quick.  

As I said, this wasn't the only bartender who did this. He was just the first one and I had the longest conversation about it.

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Totally inappropriate.

If it ever happened again consider a visit to Guest Services, or ask for their boss. 

if you felt like turning it back on them say “I have a drinking problem and don’t drink”  or 

”I have a medical problem and can’t drink”  or

”what part of no alcohol did you not understand”

I think you can feel my anger coming through in my comebacks.    I honestly don’t know what I would say if it were me.  I try to give the benefit of the doubt and be nice, but really, there is no good reason to harass you,

I had an overbearing waiter trying to add extra lobster on my plate, by the 3rd time of me saying no I seriously  was ready to start raising my voice with “what part of no do you not understand”. 
 

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My husband does not drink alcohol, because it does not agree with him.  Basically allergy to alcohol, and gets immediately sick.  We have had no problem with bartenders when ordering virgin drinks.   All the bartenders have been great in the many, many years we have cruised.

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