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Top 10 Signs Not to Sell or Serve Alcohol

June 12, 2024
toasting blue moon beer

If you’ve completed your BASSET Certification with BASSET On The Fly, you’re equipped with the knowledge to stay compliant with the law. However, as seasoned servers ourselves, we understand a refresher is always helpful. Let’s delve into the top 10 signs of alcohol intoxication that should prompt you to exercise your right to refuse service.

1. Loud and Boisterous Behavior

While some people are naturally outgoing, a sudden and significant increase in volume, coupled with excessive excitement or inappropriate remarks (especially those of a sexual nature), could signal that alcohol is lowering their inhibitions and impairing their judgment.

2. Uncharacteristic Social Behavior

Everyone has their own personality, but drastic changes in behavior are worth noting. A typically reserved person becoming overly friendly, someone making exaggerated gestures, or a patron engaging in inappropriate language are all potential signs of intoxication. It’s essential to consider the context and any known changes in their behavior throughout the evening.

3. Flushed Face

Alcohol acts as a vasodilator, meaning it widens blood vessels. This can lead to a noticeable reddening of the face, especially in the cheeks and nose. While this could be due to other factors like warmth or embarrassment, it’s a common physical sign of alcohol consumption. Note: This is not always a sign; some people have a dramatic flush response to any alcohol at all, so a patron shouldn’t be assessed as being intoxicated purely by this sign.

4. Emotional Volatility

Alcohol can disrupt emotional regulation, leading to exaggerated responses. Uncontrollable laughter at minor jokes, disproportionate sadness over trivial matters, or rapid shifts in mood without apparent cause can all suggest that someone’s judgment is impaired.

5. Impaired Motor Functions

Alcohol directly affects coordination and balance. Slurred speech, stumbling, swaying while standing or walking, or difficulty with fine motor skills (like spilling drinks or fumbling with money) are strong indicators of intoxication.

6. Financial Carelessness

Impaired judgment often extends to financial decisions. A sudden willingness to overspend, excessive tipping, bragging about wealth, or insisting on buying drinks for everyone in the bar can signify that alcohol is influencing their decision-making.

7. Argumentative or Aggressive Tendencies

Alcohol can lower inhibitions and make people more prone to confrontation. If a customer becomes belligerent, picks fights with others, or is verbally abusive towards staff or fellow patrons, it’s a clear sign they’ve had too much to drink.

8. Bloodshot, Glassy or Watery Eyes

Alcohol’s effects on blood vessels and hydration can cause noticeable changes in eye appearance. While not always a definitive sign (as allergies or fatigue can cause similar symptoms), bloodshot, glassy, or excessively watery eyes are often associated with intoxication.

9. Excessive Fatigue

As a depressant, alcohol can induce drowsiness and fatigue. If a customer is struggling to stay awake, has droopy eyelids, or is nodding off, they may be experiencing the effects of excessive alcohol consumption.

10. Changes in Speech Patterns

Alcohol can affect cognitive function, leading to noticeable changes in speech. Rambling conversations, speaking unusually fast or slow, repeating themselves, or slurring words are all potential signs of alcohol-related impairment.

By being vigilant and observing these signs, you can make informed decisions about when to exercise your right to refuse service, ensuring the safety and well-being of your customers and your establishment.

Recognizing These Signs of Alcohol Intoxication Matters

As a server or seller of alcohol, you play a crucial role in promoting responsible consumption and ensuring the safety of your patrons.  Being able to recognize the signs of intoxication is not just about following the law; it’s about protecting lives and livelihoods.

Your Obligation to Refuse Service

Remember, you have the legal right — and obligation — to refuse the sale or service of alcohol to anyone who appears intoxicated. This isn’t about judgment; it’s about recognizing when someone’s well-being, and potentially the well-being of others, is at risk. Exercising this right is a proactive step towards preventing harm.

The Domino Effect of Overserving

Overserving a customer can set off a chain of negative consequences, impacting not only the individual but also your establishment and the broader community. Consider the following:

Increased Liability

If an intoxicated patron leaves your establishment and causes an accident, injures themselves or others, or engages in destructive behavior, you could be held liable. The legal and financial repercussions can be devastating.

Legal Repercussions

State laws and local ordinances impose strict regulations on alcohol service. Overserving can result in hefty fines, temporary closure of your business, and in severe cases, the revocation of your liquor license.

Reputation Damage

Negative incidents involving intoxicated patrons can quickly tarnish your establishment’s image. Word-of-mouth spreads rapidly, and a reputation for overserving can deter customers, leading to a decline in business and revenue.

The Ripple Effect

It’s important to remember that the impact of overserving extends beyond the individual and your establishment. Intoxicated patrons can pose a danger to themselves and others on the road, contribute to public disturbances, or become victims of crime. By taking responsible service seriously, you’re not only protecting your business, but you’re also contributing to a safer and healthier community.

The Importance of BASSET Training

BASSET On The Fly provides comprehensive online training that empowers servers and sellers to recognize the signs of alcohol intoxication and make responsible decisions. BASSET On The Fly is licensed by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC) and our course equips you with the knowledge and confidence to prioritize the safety of your customers and your business.

Remember: When in doubt, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and refuse service. Your vigilance can help prevent harm and ensure a safe, enjoyable environment for everyone.

Contact BASSET On The Fly today to learn more about our online training and certification program.

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