Author Topic: Mess etiquette: buying rounds  (Read 2582 times)

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Offline CanadianTire

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Mess etiquette: buying rounds
« on: February 06, 2019, 16:18:30 »
We had a small discussion last week regarding buying rounds in the mess and it go me thinking: is there a standardized etiquette for buying rounds in the mess, or does it vary mess by mess. As all messes must have a constitution, and there is presumably a CF or at least CA wide basis for the constitution, is this covered?

Topics that came up...buying a round when wearing headdress into the mess (duty excepted). Pretty straightforward, but we have had people arguing that a threshold exists or that they didn't have to buy because they weren't aware of the policy or their unit followed a different policy. Buying a round in advance: can it be done? How far in advance? Is it recorded or will some people expect a second ringing of the bell the following week because they didn't witness it prior? Buying rounds afterwards - for various reasons, one might not want to or be able to buy a round that night. How far after is it allowed? Mixed messes - are you buying rounds only for your unit or the whole mess? Is the onus on the members or the bartenders to prove which unit a member belongs to?

Just curious as in the past I've heard the argument "that's now how we did it back at my unit" or "they told me on such-and-such a course that this is the way it is done."
« Last Edit: February 06, 2019, 16:22:25 by CanadianTire »
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Offline Brihard

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Re: Mess etiquette: buying rounds
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2019, 16:51:43 »
There cannot be any actual enforceable 'rule' - mess Contitutionas or otherwise - obligating troops to buy alcohol for other troops. It's entirely within the realm of what is customary.

What a unit or mess does internally is their business, subject of course to all the other rules and regulations and standards governing behaviour. But if someone forgets to take their headdress off and doesn't buy a round, or gets promoted and chooses not to buy a round, there's nothing enforceable to make them.. Nor could or should there be. Obviously the social consequences of bucking such norms is a different thing entirely.
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Re: Mess etiquette: buying rounds
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2019, 17:04:43 »
Obviously the social consequences of bucking such norms is a different thing entirely.

This.

frig up - buy the round.

Hooks to be wetted - buy the round.

Or: don't be a dick.
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Offline CanadianTire

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Re: Mess etiquette: buying rounds
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2019, 17:39:49 »
Makes perfect sense. And we've never begrudged a member who delayed buying a round for various reasons (as long as they were valid ones). That said, it seems we have had newer members promoted or badged back in December who have yet to buy rounds. In this case, I suppose its a matter for the mess committee.
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Offline PuckChaser

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Re: Mess etiquette: buying rounds
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2019, 17:57:24 »
When I was promoted into the Sgts and WOs mess, I didn't buy a round for the whole place. Kingston allowed members to set up a chit with an upper limit and a codeword to give your friends. I wasn't keen on spending hundreds of dollars on a bar tab for people I didn't know, so I spent hundreds of dollars on my friends.

Offline mariomike

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Re: Mess etiquette: buying rounds
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2019, 18:53:01 »
We had a small discussion last week regarding buying rounds in the mess and it go me thinking: is there a standardized etiquette for buying rounds in the mess, or does it vary mess by mess. As all messes must have a constitution, and there is presumably a CF or at least CA wide basis for the constitution, is this covered?

Topics that came up...buying a round when wearing headdress into the mess (duty excepted). Pretty straightforward, but we have had people arguing that a threshold exists or that they didn't have to buy because they weren't aware of the policy or their unit followed a different policy. Buying a round in advance: can it be done? How far in advance? Is it recorded or will some people expect a second ringing of the bell the following week because they didn't witness it prior? Buying rounds afterwards - for various reasons, one might not want to or be able to buy a round that night. How far after is it allowed? Mixed messes - are you buying rounds only for your unit or the whole mess? Is the onus on the members or the bartenders to prove which unit a member belongs to?

See also,

Ringing the bell in the Mess 
https://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=71774.0
2 pages

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Mess etiquette: buying rounds
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2019, 20:24:44 »
There was, the emphasis on times long past is important, a general rule against buying rounds ... the reason was that not everyone could afford it and someone might feel obligated to spend more than he or she should.

Now, in most units, in my experience, there were exceptions:

Promotions were the obvious one;

In one unit in which I served one stood a round for the mess on one's birthday ~ and the unwritten rule was that a single "birthday boy" bought all the wine for the living in officers' evening meal on his birthday, and a couple of (still memorable) raging hangovers suggests that birthday dinners went on and on and on ...

In some units games, liars' dice and the like, were encouraged to prevent people just buying rounds ... the games tended to spread the load evenly and to allow members to excuse themselves.

Personally, and my age may well be showing here, I oppose buying rounds unless one is hosting outsiders ... if, for example, some officers from another garrison were visiting I (and my mess mates) would buy them their drinks ~ within reason ~ because we knew that we would be treated the same when we were in a different unit's mess.

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Offline Furniture

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Re: Mess etiquette: buying rounds
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2019, 10:43:29 »
We had a small discussion last week regarding buying rounds in the mess and it go me thinking: is there a standardized etiquette for buying rounds in the mess, or does it vary mess by mess. As all messes must have a constitution, and there is presumably a CF or at least CA wide basis for the constitution, is this covered?

Topics that came up...buying a round when wearing headdress into the mess (duty excepted). Pretty straightforward, but we have had people arguing that a threshold exists or that they didn't have to buy because they weren't aware of the policy or their unit followed a different policy. Buying a round in advance: can it be done? How far in advance? Is it recorded or will some people expect a second ringing of the bell the following week because they didn't witness it prior? Buying rounds afterwards - for various reasons, one might not want to or be able to buy a round that night. How far after is it allowed? Mixed messes - are you buying rounds only for your unit or the whole mess? Is the onus on the members or the bartenders to prove which unit a member belongs to?

Just curious as in the past I've heard the argument "that's now how we did it back at my unit" or "they told me on such-and-such a course that this is the way it is done."

I've seen many different "traditions" at the messes I've been a member of across the country, and in all three elements.

The best messes I have had the privilege to be a member of were by far the Chief's and PO's messes on ship. It was a small group of people who knew each other, lived together, worked together, and generally got along. The worst messes have been the WO's and Sgt's messes on wings. There is no cohesion, and as a younger Sgt I was made feel very unwelcome in my own mess by the older members.

Most of the "buy me a drink", or "buy us a round" traditions I've seen have been the more senior people pressuring the new guys to buy them drinks. The standard for what requires a buying a round varies but forgetting to remove your hat is pretty much standard everywhere I've been. 

I think they had the right idea in ERC's day, pressuring people to buy drinks that maybe they can't or don't want to buy drives people away from the mess. 

Offline CTD

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Re: Mess etiquette: buying rounds
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2019, 12:16:08 »
Upon promotion.
If a Sgt or above came to the mess on personal business. They either rung the bell or they were carried and rung it with what ever body part we reached it with.
If your picture got in the newspaper or TV.
Of you wore your hat past the entrance. (Except in one mess we were allowed to wear civilian ball caps).
If my gun Detachment worked hard.
If my Troop worked hard.
If I was drunk and walked into the bell.

We had two bells. One was for 10 drinks only. The first ten to the bar. The other bell was for everyone.

You have to be fair about rounds. You also need to ensure that it is in good fun and conduct.

Offline Pusser

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Re: Mess etiquette: buying rounds
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2019, 13:35:30 »
The bottom line is that no one can be ordered to buy drinks for anyone else, regardless of customs or mess "rules."  In fact, even pressuring someone to buy a round, could turn into harassment if you're not careful.  Social custom is fine, but don't get too wrapped up in it.  You have no idea why someone is not buying a round and frankly, it's likely none of your business.  Buying a round should be a celebration, not a punishment.

Years ago, a bunch of us were in the mess playing giant Jenga (i.e. using jenga blocks made of 2x4s) and in our drunken fog we all agreed that anyone who toppled the tower would have to buy a round.  Some of us started doing quick calculations of those present and were horrified that we might actually have to pay up.  We all breathed a sigh of relief when the colonel was the first to topple the tower.  Luckily, he was smart enough to change the rules and bought a single bottle of champagne instead of high-priced drinks for all.  We all thought that was a much better way to deal with it.

As an aside, when ordering drinks when another is buying, it is in the worst possible taste to order something outrageously expensive.  You should restrict your choice to what you would normally order for yourself when you are paying the bill.
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Offline CanadianTire

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Re: Mess etiquette: buying rounds
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2019, 15:56:46 »
As an aside, when ordering drinks when another is buying, it is in the worst possible taste to order something outrageously expensive.  You should restrict your choice to what you would normally order for yourself when you are paying the bill.

Absolutely. I've seen guys drink the cheapest beer the mess has but when a round is on, all of a sudden they are getting a big bottle of craft beer or even worse, a scotch.
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Offline Navy_Pete

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Re: Mess etiquette: buying rounds
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2019, 16:07:45 »
I've  only really seen this on ships for the most part, when the drinks were cheap and the crowd is limited. That died down pretty hard when the prices went up a few years ago, but when it was small groups sometimes the bell would still get wrung.  Really different context from the mess though, as you normally know everyone pretty well.  What was more typical was groups getting together to put a specific amount on the bar and inviting some friends, but wasn't a general open free for all.  Have only ever seen that in a bigger mess when it was in one of the side rooms, and not really meant for whoever happened to be walking by. 

I think generally speaking those traditions are going away.  I've been to a few promotions and DWDs recently where it was hosted, and generally everyone was pretty tame, sticking to pop or a lone pint (and at one of the DWDs his wingers split the tab when he wasn't looking).  The consequences for being a soup sandwhich can be pretty severe, and with most people living off base with longer commutes, it's logistically challenging at times. Also a lot more people with families, so less disposable cash floating around (and things like phoenix and other pay snafus don't make people feel more free with their cash).

And like a few people said, they are only customs, not rules.  The exception I guess is normally when you are hosting someone that the guest doesn't typically pay, and there is usually a chit that can be used for official guests (like the PMC chit). That's usually well understood in advance.

Offline Furniture

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Re: Mess etiquette: buying rounds
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2019, 18:09:14 »
As an aside, when ordering drinks when another is buying, it is in the worst possible taste to order something outrageously expensive.  You should restrict your choice to what you would normally order for yourself when you are paying the bill.

Sadly,  certain people often abuse rounds... Which is why most people now seem to offer to buy after the drinks have been ordered, or put a set amount on the bar.

Personally I'll always order cheaper when someone else is buying, I know I wouldn't appreciate people abusing my generosity.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Mess etiquette: buying rounds
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2019, 19:44:52 »
Personally I'll always order cheaper when someone else is buying, I know I wouldn't appreciate people abusing my generosity.

You would be very welcome in our (Scottish) mess :)
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Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: Mess etiquette: buying rounds
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2019, 20:04:40 »
If a Sgt or above came to the mess on personal business. They either rung the bell or they were carried and rung it with what ever body part we reached it with.

I'm not tracking you on this one...can you explain some?  (the Sgt or above...personal business part  ;D)
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Offline Furniture

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Re: Mess etiquette: buying rounds
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2019, 21:00:48 »
You would be very welcome in our (Scottish) mess :)

My family are Robertson's, I come by my frugality honestly!  :cheers:

Offline LunchMeat

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Re: Mess etiquette: buying rounds
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2019, 22:30:41 »
Sadly,  certain people often abuse rounds... Which is why most people now seem to offer to buy after the drinks have been ordered, or put a set amount on the bar.

Personally I'll always order cheaper when someone else is buying, I know I wouldn't appreciate people abusing my generosity.

I can't remember if it was Borden or Trenton, but the Jr Ranks Mess actually refused buying a round until I provided money to them. It's good to see the NPF people looking out for us too.

I much prefer the method of just putting down $50 and it's First In, First Out.
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Offline CTD

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Re: Mess etiquette: buying rounds
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2019, 23:32:42 »
I'm not tracking you on this one...can you explain some?  (the Sgt or above...personal business part  ;D)
Sometimes they would come in by accident, some times they would come to our entrance looking for someone (then got crowded and forced into the mess), other times they came in to buy a round for their gun crew.

We had a all Ranks mess at one time. It worked out real well. Everyone was mature, the Officers had their tables, Snr NCOs theirs and everyone used the rest. It was awesome times. Some of the best men and women I ever worked with.

The mess is looked at as a cost to many nowadays, It should be looked upon as a team building gathering. The cost has gotten out of control, as has the rules.

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: Mess etiquette: buying rounds
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2019, 00:19:45 »
Sometimes they would come in by accident, some times they would come to our entrance looking for someone (then got crowded and forced into the mess), other times they came in to buy a round for their gun crew.

Ahh, gotcha.

Quote
We had a all Ranks mess at one time. It worked out real well. Everyone was mature, the Officers had their tables, Warrant Officers & Snr NCOs theirs and everyone used the rest. It was awesome times. Some of the best men and women I ever worked with.

My first reserve unit, we had the same thing.  Our Sqn wasn't located with the other Sqn and RHQ which had Officers, WOs & Sgts and Jnr Ranks mess.  When I was in the unit with the combined mess, I thought it was GREAT...then when I moved and was at the main armoury with the separate messes, I thought that was ALSO great.  Each has its benefits and drawbacks...

Quote
The mess is looked at as a cost to many nowadays, It should be looked upon as a team building gathering. The cost has gotten out of control, as has the rules.

One thing I DO miss...Mess dinners.  We tend to have Sqn *mess* Dinners, but not really many Mess Dinners on my Wing.  They're not the same, IMO.

Being able to go to your first (WOs & Sgts) Mess Dinner was a fairly big deal;  ours is the only mess you have to get promoted into (bragging rights?.

I used to be a big mess supporter;  nowadays, come Friday, when its quitting time the first thing I head for is home.
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