No Glassware Left Behind

If you’ve worked in a bar or are currently working in a bar then you will know exactly what I’m talking about. People are forever stealing glassware. Be it the amazing shot glasses you brought in to celebrate the birthday of the bar, or the awful pint glasses that were brought in by the owner who has no idea what their bar actually needs. There will always be someone that will finish their drink and casually slip the glass into their bag.

It’s a pandemic that means most bars will hesitate to order actual nice glassware. What’s the point in ordering something that is quite nice and stuff, if some thieving cretin is just going to swipe it?

Well no more shall we suffer at the hands of these thieves. No more shall we sit back and watch as our glassware levels slowly fall into an abyss of…of…having no glassware. There are a few ways in which you can make sure that you can retain almost all of your glassware stock:

Security Tag Every. Single. One.

I’m being serious. Slap some security tags on every last little bit of glassware you own and then set up a security scanner at your entrance/exit. Once that bad boy goes off there’s nothing left for your felon to do but to admit the embarrassing guilt that they tried to steal glassware that probably cost about $1.

Dissolving Glasses.

I feel this might be something for Kickstarter. Bear with me, the glasses slowly dissolve over time and therefore are impossible to steal because they won’t exist. This is a double edged sword though, I mean, you’re losing out yourself. Maybe don’t take this bit of advice – Take that advice, though.

Exploding Glasses.

Again, probably the same category as the dissolving glasses, plus this is very dangerous and might be illegal in some states – definitely illegal in all of them. Yeah, this is an awful idea. Don’t do that.

Have Deposits on Your Glasses.

Only on the really nice ones that you take pride in serving your drinks in. It’s not that far-fetched an idea. A $1 deposit on a $0.50 piece of glassware covers the costs of the glass, so even if people do steal them; you’ve got the cost covered and even a little bit extra to buy yourself something nice.

Don’t Use Glasses.

If you serve every drink in the palm of your patron’s hands, it’s simply impossible for them to steal the receptacle. Can’t steal glassware if it doesn’t exist.

Tell Everyone That You Will be Watching Them.

Put the fear of God into everyone. Let them know you’ll be keeping an eye on them and you expect that glass to be empty and back on the bar before they leave. I’m just kidding of course… Put a huge sign above the bar saying: “THESE GLASSES ARE SACRED.”

Might work?

Use Gigantic Glasses.

If you use glasses that are bigger than your patron’s head, they’re going to have a really hard time in getting those glasses past the door. Might eat up your storage space, however, and they’re definitely harder to clean. Swings and roundabouts I guess.

Humiliate The Crap Out of Them.

If you catch someone swiping a glass away, turn the lights up, turn the music down and make sure everyone can see and hear what you’re about to do. Making these guys look like the idiots they are is actually really effective. Some might view it as ‘bullying’ others might view it as unnecessary, but it is effective. Who cares about you losing your sh*t over something so little? Guarantee less people will try it when they see the fuss you kick up.

Ok, Ok… What’s Your Secret?

I know a lot of these suggestions sound ridiculous but after writing this article I found something on the internet about a drinks company ACTUALLY developing ink-tagged glasses. Glasses that are security tagged AND will explode. From the mouths of babes, ey?

Look, it’s really hard to stop people from stealing your glassware. It happens. I’m not saying you need to accept this and be nonchalant when you notice your glass stocks slowly fading away, and I’m also not saying that we should condone actual stealing. When people steal glassware from businesses it directly affects the business. Those things aren’t cheap and the costs do add up. People have their own ways of tackling the issue of theft but there just isn’t an outright solution to the problem.

I’d love to hear how some of you guys have dealt with the issue of thieving patrons before and if you’ve noticed a difference in your glassware stocks. Until next time, drink good, drink safe and don’t invest in dissolving glasses.

Steven Poland

Hello. I'm Steven: a mid-20's ex bar manager from England with an ego that is only matched by my opinions. I'm not always right, but sometimes I do apologise if I'm not. I've worked on the bar for over eight years, four of them making cocktails and snarling at customers. You can find me at my website or on twitter @StevenPoland.