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23Nov/100

Bar #12 – Benchwarmers – Post-Mortem (and POWER POLLS)

Ithaca, NY

Sunday was another recoup/NFL event and the "How to Fail"ers decided to spend it in Ithaca, a town I'd never been before.  We selected Benchwarmers, supposedly the only sports bar with the DirecTV season package in this highly educated, "I don't OWN a television" hippie/hipster town.  The former site of a McDonald's, Benchwarmers still bears the tell tale signs:  gross brown tile flooring still greasy from ancient french fries, unnecessary columns where I'm assuming the soda fountains and ketchup pumps once resided, and those woefully uncomfortable two-person tables that can never find level ground.

Just like last Sunday, not a lot of people were at the bar--our strategy of smaller town Sunday visits hasn't been a great one--but the few there really loved us.  And we loved right back at 'em!  My manager Craig and I are quickly finding that with sustained one-on-one (or two-on-two) time with just about any one, we can convert them into a buyer.  And, indeed, at Benchwarmers, we won over the whole staff, selling books to a bartender, a hostess, and a female line cook name "Spike" (a certain inductee to the 30 Bars in 30 Days Hall of Fame when all is said and done (pictured above)).  We also sold to just about every football watcher we met, no small task in a town where everyone is seemingly still in grad school, underemployed, and "sorry man, I'm broke."

I would probably never go back to Ithaca for an event, but I'll definitely go back for a visit as the people I met were terrific, the town is swell, and I had an awesome time.

POWER POLLS (through week two)

Best Events

1.  Philly Cigar Club special happy hour (Philadelphia)
2.  Amity Hall (Manhattan)
3.  Drinker's Tavern (Philadelphia)
4.  Syracuse weekend (Syracuse)
5.  Paddy Whacks (Philadelphia)
6.  Brooklyn Bowl (Brooklyn)
7.  Green Rock Tavern (Hoboken, NJ)
8.  P.O.P.E. (Philadelphia)
9.  Benchwarmers (Ithaca, NY)
10.  P.J. Whelihan's (Cherry Hill, NJ)
11.  Old Bay (New Brunswick, NJ)
12.  Kildare's (Manayunk, PA)

Top Fails

1.  My assistant locking her keys in the car (with countless books inside) right before an event was about to start.

2.  Booking events in New Brunswick and Manayunk.

3.  Getting duped into giving a free copy of "How to Fail" to a self-proclaimed "important cultural journalist" who we never actually vetted.  When he didn't showed up for a scheduled one-on-one interview with me and we realized we didn't actually have his contact info (he only had ours), we knew we'd been snookered for a free book.  Money out of my pocket.  Hope he enjoys the read.

4.  [redacted]

5.  My assistant accidentally spilling a pint of beer all over the book table.

6.  My assistant resuming smoking after having quit just a week before the tour kicked off.

7.  My assistant parking in an illegal spot in Brooklyn and getting a sanitation sticker slapped on her vehicle.

8.  Me drinking Miller High Life forties so hardcore at Drinker's that I was so ridiculously hungover all day I was unable to leave my room to find a sports bar to watch my beloved Syracuse Orange clinch a bowl game against dreadful Rutgers for the first time in ages.  Shameful.

9.  The dean of Newhouse attempting to purchase "How to Fail" via SUpercard, the Syracuse University intra-school debit card, typically used for late-night muchies runs to the dining hall Burger King or Sbarro's.

10.  Me eating bar food for 12 consecutive dinners (plus stadium food, plus two late night stops to NJ Turnpike Roy Rogers, and one late night run to Taco Bell) even though I promised myself I would eat healthily on this tour.

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