When I moved to Madison WI from New York City 13 years ago, I remember the moment I walked into a neighborhood Stop and Go at 9:30pm to purchase a six-pack, which quickly resulted in my first experience of extreme culture shock. In Madison, and other parts of the state, it is illegal to sell booze (retail that is) after 9pm. I nearly grabbed a one-way ticket back home realizing I had moved to what seemed like a dystopia filled with angst ridden anti-drinking do-gooders who don’t allow fun passed 9pm. It only took about 3 months to realize how wrong I was.
So, I stayed but, there was yet another bit of drinking life-style that I noticed was lacking from my new midwest digs, and that is the “buy back.” If you are from the midwest and don’t know what this is, then at least that explains why after my third purchased drink in Madison I did not hear, “The next one is on me.” In New York City it’s just common practice, so much so it is even worked into some establishments annual budgets. Besides, it was just nice to be able to either offer or be offered a drink on the house. I should note that since I have been living in Madison I have had local bartenders buy a drink, or shot for me, so it does exist, it’s just not expected, which is why I am extra generous to those who do. While ruminating on this tonight I decided to look up the “buy back” etiquette today, and what I found was quite interesting. Click on the attached article and tell us what you think.