Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Drunk on the job

It wasn't long ago that certain people in South America were told that being drunk could no longer get them fired, Iowa City is looking in a different direction. While they aren't outright threatening firing, they are planning something else, and it affects establishments that sell alcohol.

They're considering random breath testing for wait staff and entertainment.

On one hand, this move actually makes sense. If wait staff, bartenders, and/or bouncers are able to drink during the course of their duties, it could certainly impair their judgement, and could lead to people sneaking fake IDs past, or possibly people drinking beyond the point where they should have been cut off. After all, those that are responsible for directly giving access to the bar, or handing off the liquor to customers, should be held accountable, and testing their sobriety during a shift makes sense.

But entertainers? This could usher in a strange time. We could start seeing stand-up comedians regularly drinking soda or water (which, again, makes some sense, with their reliance on speech). But musicians, as well? Given that part of a bar's payment to entertainment often lumps in at least a discount on purchases from the bar, this could lead to bars either being expected to pay more actual money to their entertainers, or to those entertainers being expected to get paid even less. While there are always people who make it big, for every one that does, there are literally hundreds (if not thousands) who are scraping by, and a free beer now and then can help make ends meet.

Although, if it keeps people from getting too drunk, then it's all for the best. After all, the world really only needs one Amy Winehouse, Pete Doherty, or Ron White.

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